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NsideTexas B U S I N E S S & L I F E S T Y L E M AGA Z I N E

APRIL 2015

WILLIE BARONET

EMPLOYS ART TO HIGHLIGHT THE HOMELESS EPIDEMIC (PG. 12)

MODERN MEETS RUSTIC SOAK IN PURE TEXAS AT THE DANCING ELK RANCH

A TASTE OF THE NORTHSIDE BRIGHTON'S MAGNET FIESTA EVENT

SMOTHERING HUNGER EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS— EVEN GENEROSITY


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YOU’RE INVITED!

NSIDE Texas Magazine - April 2015

CEO / NSIDE MEDIA PRODUCTIONS

ELIOT GARZA

eliot@getnside.com

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PUBLISHER

VANESSA TURNEY vanessa@getnside.com

Title Sponsor

CORPUS CHRISTI REHABILITATION HOSPITAL

EDITOR Sinjin Hilaski DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Mikela R. Bowers

Co-Hosts

DAVID BERLANGA & STEVE DEASES

ART DIRECTOR Cristina Villa Hazar

Kick off your summer with The White Party Corpus Christi, benefiting the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Coastal Bend. Wear resort chic white to celebrate the innocence of children, and network with top medical and business leaders in South Texas. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, small bites and live entertainment CO RPUS CHRIS TI under the lights at Gaslight Square.

The

WHITE PARTY

SENIOR WRITER Jody Joseph Marmel SENIOR FASHION EDITOR Tori Johnson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Marcus Andrews, Teri Clement, Heather Daniels, Cynthia Ann Garza, Jody Joseph Marmel, Mike McClain, Janet McCullar, Ashley McElyea, Cindy Plata, Amanda N. Ross, August Sullivan, PHOTOGRAPHY Don Hopkins, Matthew Hall, Ted Mase, Memory Magic Photography, Joshua Nolden, Rudy Ximenez

For tickets or more information, please visit: www.whitepartycorpuschristi.com For questions about tickets, sponsorships or general information, please email: info@whitepartycorpuschristi.com

Nside Publications For advertising information, please call 210.373.2599 or email eliot@getnside.com. For editorial comments and suggestions, email vanessa@getnside.com.

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22211 Interstate Highway 10, Suite 1206 San Antonio, Texas 78257 Phone: 210.892.3011 Copyright © NSIDE Media Productions. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


TABLE OF CONTENTS / A P R I L 2 015

COVER STORY

DANCING ELK RANCH Classic country melds with modernity BY SINJIN HILASKI

COVER STORY

A TASTE OF THE NORTHSIDE

WILLIE BARONET

Art meets activism with Willie Baronet’s “We Are All Homeless” project BY JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

AUSTIN, COASTAL BEND AND RGV COVERS: PHOTO COURTESY OF DEA RANCH HOUSTON & DALLAS COVERS: PHOTO OF WILLIE BARONET BY TED MASE SAN ANTONIO COVER: BIGSTOCK.COM

BY MIKELA RAE BOWERS

»

COVER STORY

A Taste of the Northside with a spoonful of generosity


TABLE OF CONTENTS / A P R I L

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STAFF PICKS

DINING

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CRAVEWORTHY: GIVING BACK IN STYLE STEP INTO SPRING As seasons shift, so should your style.

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STYLE & SUBSTANCE Spring styles for the fashion-forward professional

ROSELLA TURNS ONE From new coffee shop to a San Antonio hot spot

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DRESS TO THE NINES Steal the show with perfect performance attire from Moda Bebe.

FEEDING AUSTIN’S CREATIVE SOULS Creative culinary concoctions and coffee come to Canopy

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NSIDE XTRA

CULINARY CREATIONS Learning to cook with Silver Whisk— dashes of fun and spoonfuls of smiles

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PIECING PEACE TOGETHER Karen Blessen reflects Dallas’ true nature through thought-provoking art.

FINANCE FORGING FINANCES Five steps to retooling your finances this next quarter.

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THE ART OF GOOD FOOD Citrus Bayfront Bistro inside the Art Center of Corpus Christi

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STYLE

SOCIAL

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DENTAL HOPE

IT’S TAX TIME! Are you ready for tax season?

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ETHICAL WILLS Passing on the values behind your success

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MERE MIST INTERNATIONAL

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JAVIER MENDOZA’S SILENT ASSASSINS

LEGAL

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THE COST OF DIVORCE Being a good steward of your money

TEXAS BUSINESS

PROFILES

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FEEDING TEXAS The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas helps the hungry. B-CYCLE RIDES ITS WAY THROUGH TEXAS Bike sharing boosts community involvement while spurring healthy living.

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CHILDREN COME FIRST The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center fights abuse.

RACE FOR THE FUTURE Mike Villarreal: The Alamo City’s native son espouses pragmatic policies for a prosperous future. THE FAMILY ON THE HILL Independence Hill Retirement Community continues three decades of caring.

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YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL Independence Hill resident Norma Palmer has it all ... in miniature.

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STAFF PICKS ANDREW CARNEGIE monopolized the steel industry—holding more money than many of us will see in our lifetime—yet it was he who authored “The Gospel of Wealth” and implored his peers to practice philanthropy. Leading by example, he is said to have given away about 90 percent of his wealth. Carnegie was firmly against the idea of frivolous spending, and he believed that after one can live comfortably they should begin using their wealth to help provide relief to society and aid in its progress. We at Nside echo Andrew Carnegie’s sentiments and try to mirror his generosity. It’s no secret that the Nside staff likes to give back to the community. Indeed, we’re usually hosting one, if not multiple, events that benefit various Texas nonprofits. Though, Texas is a big state, and the number of nonprofits to partner with are incredible. Unfortunately, this means we can’t always partner with every nonprofit we’d like to. Since this issue has an emphasis on charitable organizations, we’ve compiled a few staff picks of some of our favorite nonprofits across the state.

» WAGS ACROSS TEXAS

WAGS Across Texas is a Texas-based nonprofit utilizing therapy dogs to offer physical and emotional rehabilitation. The program is operated by volunteers who make up teams based around their animal. The dogs used in the program are trained to maintain their cool in environments where they will be smothered in hugs, tugged on by little ones, and in the presence of strangers and new en-

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vironments. WAGS’ teams serve almost anyone in need. They work in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, disaster areas and much more. Some of my favorite work these animals do is working with schools, the military and the dying. In schools, the pups offer comfort to children learning to read. Having the animals nearby is shown to reduce the anxiety of reading aloud. Their work with the military ranges from PTSD recovery to physical rehabilitation. The animals often choose who they will work with from the group, allowing patients to experience connection during painful and difficult transitions in their recovery. Another powerful way these animals change lives is at the end of it. Offering a form of palliative care in hospice settings, the therapy dogs help alleviate anxiety around the dying process. New teams are always needed, and the training program for a qualifying dog is passed along from the area leader. You may also reach out for information on bringing a therapy dog to meet an unmet need in your area For more information reach out to WAGS at www.wagsacrosstexas.com. -Mikela Rae Bowers

» PAWS IN PRISON

Paws in Prison isn’t your typical animal shelter. You won’t find rows of dog kennels overflowing with animals. Instead, they work inside the Lockhart Correctional Facility 30 miles outside of Austin, offering a rehabilitation program for both the dogs and female inmates. Paws in Prison works closely with local shelters to provide a temporary home for dogs that are at risk for being euthanized, and give them the love and attention they need. Dogs chosen by the program are moved from over-crowded animal shelters to the correctional facility to live with an inmate in their cell, run off-leash in the play yard and learn how to be the perfect pet for their future family. The inmates work closely with professional trainers on basic obedience skills, many dogs are even trained to

be AKC Canine Good Citizens. The inmates and experienced trainers develop a program tailored to the dogs, using a variety of methods to ensure optimal performance. Paws in Prison has given hundreds of dogs that would have been overlooked in the shelter a second chance. When given the opportunity for a blind or deaf dog to stay in prison, trainers used scent training to teach her basic obedience. Inmates communicated with her by waving scents under her nose, and teaching her commands associated with that scent. In addition to learning basic obedience, her temperament greatly improved after spending so much time with her trainers. Paws in Prison works to improve the lives of inmates and dogs through loving, nurturing support. Each dog’s life is drastically changed after graduating from the program, and inmates are empowered by seeing the positive impact of their hard work. For more information or to see dogs available for adoption please visit www.pawsinprison. com. - Gabriella Montemayor

» HOUSTON TO HOMS

It’s roughly 7,000 miles from Houston, Texas to Homs, Syria. Though the distance doesn’t diminish the conflict nor its global and local impact. The popular, peaceful protest in 2011 began in the context of the Arab Spring, but government forces, under the direction of President al-Assad, sought to silence opposition with violence. In four years, the Syrian conflict has claimed the lives of over 191,000 people — though the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other NGOs place the figure far higher — and over 3 million people have fled Syria with another 6.5 million internally displaced. There is no visible end to the conflict as moderate forces attempt to regain and secure a democratic Syria, and President al-Assad flouts international condemnation and perpetuates his war against moderate opposition forces and civilians alike.


The U.S. State Department expects about 2,000 Syrian refugees to arrive this year, and an estimated 10,000 refugees by the end of 2016. Houston, which leads the nation in refugee resettlement, is expected to receive the bulk of Syrian refugees. While this may be news to some, the Syrian American Council’s Houston Chapter has been actively advocating for Syrian human rights and civil liberties for over two years by trying to galvanize Texans and stress the necessity for action in our ever-connected global community. The Syrian American Council is the largest and oldest grassroots organization of SyrianAmericans attempting to bolster awareness and direct support for Syrian civilians and vetted, moderate opposition forces that seek to instill and foster a democratic government in historically pluralistic Syria. They have coordinated trips to Syria and neighboring Turkey to aid suffering Syrians, and through their efforts the Syrian American Council has raised upward of a million dollars donated to licensed relief organizations, such as the Syrian Relief and Development, the Zakat Foundation and Life USA, among many others.

kids with disabilities. The field is known currently as the “Mike Simpson Miracle Field,” after the Frisco Mayor who spearheaded the project with city council, and it’s currently located within Bacchus Community Park. Instead of ghosts from long past however, you’ll find on any given day children with disabilities enjoying a sport as any other child has the opportunity to do with the exception of the cushioned synthetic turf that allows for specialty devices. Integrating baseball, soccer, golf, track and recently bowling, this nonprofit depends on local volunteers, often families and high school students, to serve as “buddies,” which the foundation credits as vital to the league’s success and growth. “Buddies” assist in all aspects of assistance on the field, and The Miracle League has in turn established two scholarships through the Frisco Education Foundation benefiting those “buddies.” The Miracle League of Frisco is a foundation that provides sports and recreation to special needs children, while also giving back to those who guide the way. This may just be as utopian as it gets in the heart of Texas. For more information visit www.friscomiracleleague.org. -Vanessa Turney

»DREAMS DO COME TRUE

Thinking back to the days when my mother would tell me to close my eyes and make a wish

flood me with memories of believing that wishes really could come true if you thought about them long enough. There are so many children today that continue to make wishes but for an entirely different reason. These children are diagnosed with life threatening diseases, and many have a limited time here on planet Earth. Some of these children can have operations and go into remission while others are diagnosed with untreatable cancers or other diseases with no known cure to date. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has made it possible to grant some of these children their ultimate wish, no matter how difficult the wish may seem. Enriching the human spirit with “hope, strength and joy” holds infinite promises for these children, who are not planning on attending college, having their dream career to pursue, getting married, starting a family of their own or having a future to look forward to years down the road. Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas serves the central and southern third of the Lone Star State. Read these children’s stories that will touch your heart in ways that you can only imagine. Make that difference and help as many of the children here in Texas have their dreams come true. It is the least we can do for those children who don’t have the luxury of making plans for a future. We have to make their future come to them as quickly as possible, so they can believe and experience laughter and joy. Help make a child’s wish come true. I know I have and it has made me realize what a beautiful gift life is. A gift that too many of us take for granted. For more information please visit www.cstx.wish. org or call 512.329.9474. -Jody Joseph Marmel

For more information and to get involved with the Syrian American Council’s Houston Chapter visit www.sacouncil.com, find them on Facebook or email them at syrianamericancouncilhouston@gmail.com. -Sinjin Hilaski

» THE MIRACLE LEAGUE OF FRISCO

An article on their website compares this visionary nonprofit to the film Field of Dreams. It’s a fairly accurate portrayal for The Miracle League, formed in 2005 with land designated for APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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COVER STORY

Enamored with

PURE TEXAS THE RESERVE AT DANCING ELK RANCH reconnects Texans’ with an entrancing experience By: SINJIN HILASKI

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“REALLY, IT WAS JUST AN IDEA, AND THIS IS THE ONE DR. ALEXANDER THOUGHT OF.”

APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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YOU STEP OUT of your vehicle and feel the South Texas sun start to warm your skin. With each step forward, the gravel underneath your feet lets out a softspoken crunch. Your breathing slows down, the normal back aches and tension of day-to-day life wash away as you’re bathed in the sights, sounds and mesmerizing milieu of pure Texas at The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch. Escaping from the city and life’s daily worries can prove difficult in today’s ever-connected world. Indeed, there are a number of establishments that offer stress relief services. But, few of them focus on reconnecting with and enjoying our natural world, in all its splendor. It’s here that The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch excels, where others fall short. Drive down, or up, Highway 37, and after a few moments, you’ll slip into the nostalgic comfort of road trips and weekend getaways. With the promise of respite on the horizon, you take a turn and soon find yourself surrounded by a promise land of sorts. The road winds a bit more, cars move a tad slower, and you breathe all the easier. It’s done. You’ve made it. Enter the gates of the The Reserve and meander up the winding driveway, your experience of true Texas relaxation has just begun. For roughly five years, The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch has served Texans as a source of scenic seclusion. And with the addition of their new venue, a year and a half ago, they’ve furthered an already stellar reputation, providing the prime location for weddings, corporate retreats, family reunions and, truthfully, vacations of all kinds. At 1,700 acres, with a two acre pond, a selection of lodgings for overnight guests and a score of native and exotic animals, The Reserve is an awe-inspiring sight itself. The brainchild of Dr. Alexander, The Reserve offers safe, professional hunting of both their 10

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native and exotic animals. The ranch manager, a trained and exceptional biologist, is key to maintaining the managed animal population. By monitoring their behavior and dietary patterns he’s able to ensure a healthy and enjoyable life for the animals, whilst also providing superior service to guests enabling a professional, exciting and memorable hunt for all involved. Coupled with their professional guides, The Reserve makes sure that guests have all options available to them once they’ve secured their trophy. Whether it be a whitetail deer, Arabian oryx, zebra or waterbuck, The Reserve offers guests a walk-in cooler to store their trophy, as well as transportation help to their primary taxidermist and meat processor, ensuring that everyone gets the most out of their hunting trips. Occasionally, exceptional animals are offered for hunting at a higher price when they’re available. With the expansion of their new venue, The Reserve has begun offering corporate skeet shootings and business meetings as a way to service all interested and reconnect Texans with the natural beauty of the state. Like an oasis in the desert, The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch is entrancing and tantalizing because it offers what we seek most, a stressfree reunion with nature in all its glory. “Really it was just an idea, and this is the one Dr. Alex-

ander thought of.” said Steven Dienda, The Reserve’s manager, with a grin. And quite the idea it was. Sitting with Steven and event coordinator Arcilia Garcia, it’s obvious they take pride in their work and after touring the property, there’s little wonder why. The tranquil seclusion of The Reserve is both calming and welcoming, whilst still captivating. Indeed, Steven explains how almost all guests are ensnared by the natural beauty of the property, and typically utter an audible “Oh my goodness” after entering and viewing the newly built venue in its entirety. At 16,000-square-feet, replete with three bars, two outdoor patios and a stage that can comfortably fit six performers, The Reserve’s venue is a sight to behold. Built only a year and half ago, the venue has proved to be an amazing addition to an already stunning property. Enter the dance hall through the impressive and heavy wooden doors, and guests are welcomed with warm embrace to one of the most stunning entrances this side of South Texas. With two custom-made antler chandeliers, a 400-yearold oxen-pulled bridal cart from the Far East and a disco-saddle, to spice up the festivities, The Reserve has perfectly fused the classical country atmosphere with modern accessories, making it a prime locale for occasions of any sort. From large weddings to small family re-


“We’re a destination” unions, The Reserve accommodates all, and it’s prepared for whatever the weather may bring. Both outdoor patios are covered, protecting guests from the elements, with one featuring a dual flame and water fountain, and the other showcasing an outdoor barbecue pit that’s easily the envy of most men’s eyes. “Steven can prepare about 600 pounds of meat on it,” said Arcilia with a smile while showing me the property. And, what’s more, The Reserve’s JBL surround sound system not only caters to guests inside, but it brings the musical mood to guests soaking in the scenic outdoors as well. Sitting at one of the granite-top bars, with Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way” providing the perfect soundscape, Arcilia explained how The Reserve installed five, drop-down, large screens for professional retreats that may want to do team-building exercises, or for wedding party’s lucky bride and groom to rehash, relive and laugh about old memories with their family and friends. “We’re a destination,” beamed Steven. And he’s right. The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch is a destination and experience unto itself. With fully customizable packages for overnight stays, weddings or professional retreats, The Reserve is, and can be, everything you want it to be. Start checking your calendar, mark your days off and make you reservations at The Reserve. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable folks, who want to provide guests the best experience possible, the reasons to book your dates at the Dancing Elk Ranch are infinite. Reconnect with nature, soak in the scenery, and explore a truly pure Texas. For more information call 361.946.4812 or visit www.thereserveat dancingelk.com. The Reserve at Dancing Elk Ranch is located at 313 County Road 351 in Mathis, TX 78368. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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PHOTOS THIS PAGE BY MATTHEW HALL PHOTOGRAPHY

COVER STORY

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HOPE FOR THE Willie Baronet brings awareness to homelessness through art By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

EACH AND EVERY ONE of us has passion and compassion. It is what we do with those intense feelings that matters. Dallas artist Willie Baronet has achieved some major accomplishments throughout his career, and since 1993 he has been collecting signs from the homeless. Baronet says, “I don’t know where the idea came from, but I started buying signs as a way to deal with my discomfort when I would see a homeless person on the corner. It was a way to begin an interaction and conversation with them.” While many choose to look the other way or simply ignore our nation’s homeless population, there are those that believe we are all connected, and we need to help one another during our existence. Baronet has mastered that relationship and started a longterm art project titled “We Are All Homeless,” since he has been buying and collecting homeless signs for over 20 years. During the summer of 2014, Baronet began a 31 day crosscountry trip to buy signs in 24 cities, and he began filming a documentary about the process. This project has been featured in both international and local media — from The Dallas Morning News and NPR’s “All Things Considered” to Al Jazeera America and The Seattle Times. I was fortunate enough to catch an 8 minute video on Facebook about his expedition and interactions with the country’s homeless population. As a writer and fellow human, I was intrigued with Willie’s friendly demeanor when asking some of the homeless if he could purchase their signs. The reactions and discussions that followed are priceless, and quite often Willie would pay $10 for signs that read: “Anything Will Help,” “Out of Work,” and “Stranded

& Hungry,” to the powerful words “Have You Ever Felt Invisible Before?” Having collected almost a thousand signs to date, Willie bought 292 signs during his cross-country trip. “I love the signs as artifacts. The material, the wording, the spelling, the lettering, the texture, all the choices they made in making the sign are interesting to me,” explains Baronet. This past summer, Willie had the chance to have long conversations with approximately 150 of the people he bought signs from, and many of their stories touched him for all sorts of reasons. “One of the things I asked all of them was ‘What does home mean to you?’ Those answers were quite meaningful,” recounts Willie, explaining that, “People talked about the physical aspects of where they sleep to the very emotional and intangible reasons that make home what it is.” He remembers most of his encounters and each person sharing their dreams with him. “I met a woman in Albuquerque named Dinell. She was in her 70s and has been living outside for over 2 years with her son and her two cats. Due to the fact that the shelters won’t allow her to have pets, she isn’t willing to stay there. Her dream is to win the lottery and open a shelter for the homeless with pets called ‘Pets with People.’ I met a man in Omaha named Michael who had one leg, was a veteran, and hung out with a group of Lakota Native Americans who all shared whatever money or food they happened to

get. I actually cried in the parking lot of a Burger King after talking with him. I met a guy named Owen in Portland who had several very artful signs. He was watching out for a friend of his with some mental issues; it was very touching. He told me that he had over 60 Sharpies of different colors. When he got to Portland, he only had three left. He used the money I gave him for his signs to buy more Sharpies and some smokes. I could go on and on,” says Baront, recounting a few of the various conversations he had. Hearing these stories touches a part of our souls. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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Many people feel sympathy, others feel the need to help, and others take action to help the homeless throughout our country. Willie Baronet discusses the power of the signs he has collected over the years. “I get this feeling when I hold or even see a sign. Just thinking about the human sweat stains on the cardboard, the lettering — which can be confident, timid, fragile or artful — the typos and language and sometimes the obvious time it took to create the sign and make them into pieces of artwork,” says Willie, explaining, “I have bought signs that had very bold lettering, that were all filled in with a ball point pen and in other cases, there is very artful lettering or drawings on them. And the ones that are clearly well worn and have been used for years are the most powerful. One man sold me a sign that he has had for 15 years — now that’s a lot of history.” The majority of Willie’s signs have been bought in Texas, mostly Dallas, Austin and Houston. He has friends from all over that buy signs and send them to him. Hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t receive a sign or several in the mail. Currently, he is in the midst of making a documentary about this project called “Signs of Humanity.” It is projected to be completed by the Spring/Summer of 2015. As for the signs, the first show that Willie had was in 2009. In that show, signs were mounted onto mirrors and there were digital compilations of pieces of the signs. There were signs affixed to the floor. Willie Baronet did a huge installation for his MFA show in 2011 where he had over 200 signs mounted on one gallery wall. He has done videos with the signs and other installations where the signs were suspended from the ceiling with fishing lines so that people could

walk among them. “I have done installations where the signs were mounted on the floor and people would inadvertently step on them. None are currently on display, but I was in New York recently looking for possible locations for a show in early 2015,” says Willie, adding that, “One of my dreams would be to do a show in each of the 24 cities I visited during the cross-country trip.” For now, Willie plans on finishing the documentary, a book and to continue putting together installations in whatever locations he can. Once the documentary has its run, the hope is there will be some kind of impact or advocacy

“I STARTED BUYING SIGNS AS A WAY TO DEAL WITH MY DISCOMFORT WHEN I WOULD SEE A HOMELESS PERSON ON THE CORNER. IT WAS A WAY TO BEGIN AN INTERACTION AND CONVERSATION WITH THEM.”

campaign that will continue on. This might involve screenings of the documentary at colleges or other organizations where they are trying to raise awareness about homelessness. “I must also mention that this would not have happened without the generosity of friends and other supporters who made the trip possible and are also making the documentary possible,” says Willie, explaining that, “We are still raising money for post-production of the documentary, and it’s so gratifying to see people who want to get involved in this. I plan to keep buying signs and to keep making art of all kinds, some having to do with the signs and some not.” After watching Willie Baronet’s videos and seeing some of his displays, it’s obivous he is going to succeed on his mission. He has already brought awareness to the homeless situation on a state and national level. Now, the next step seems to be in the works. Just think, if we all sent Willie a sign we would be helping those that need our help, as well as bringing about the much needed awareness of the homeless here in the Lone Star state and beyond. Let’s strive for the passion and compassion and make a difference with Willie Baronet. For more information email Willie Baronet at homeless@williebaronet.com or visit www.weareallhomeless.org. You can also find the “We Are All Homeless” art project on Facebook. TO SEE HOW HOUSTON IS CARING FOR THEIR HOMELESS SEE PG. 44 IN TEXAS MD.

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COVER STORY

Fulfilling the Need of

Hope

HOW CELEBRATION AND COMMUNITY ARE CHANGING LIVES By: MIKELA RAE BOWERS

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A

NYONE LIVING IN and visiting San Antonio

during the spring is bound to experience the excitement of Fiesta. From the culturally rich events to the brightly colored city decor, Fiesta permeates the air during its annual flourish in San Antonio. A recognized and honored tradition amongst the natives, the week-long event celebrates the rich culture and deep roots found in this unique region of the world. One of the greatest phenomenons around Fiesta is the sense of community emerging with a connection to something unspoken, yet understood by all. This magnificent sense of community has created one of Fiesta’s most notable and anticipated events: the Brighton Center’s “A Taste of the Northside.” Although these two events were not always linked, as the charitable event grew, Fiesta took notice and made “A Taste of the Northside’s” humble mission one of her own. However, what many may not know is the foundation of “A Taste of the Northside” and all the incredible work that is made possible through this event. Sixteen years ago, the Brighton Center joined forces with Angie and Jeff Bridges of Copa Wine bar to facilitate a fundraiser for the then-small, nonprofit agency. Brighton was in need of a fun-

draising source to grow their agency in supporting children with disabilities and developmental delays, and their families. The inaugural wine and food tasting event attracted 100 people and raised $3,500 for the Brighton children. The folks of Brighton and those they impact were thrilled with the outcome, and they’ve since dedicated much time and effort to feed San Antonio something it has long been craving: an avenue of service through community collaboration. Last year, in it’s 15th season, “A Taste of the Northside” hosted over 8,000 guests and raised over $567,000 for the Brighton Center. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Brighton Center, funding therapy services, early childhood education, parent training, and advocacy to children with developmental delays, disabilities and their families. This funding helped support 2,600 children in San Antonio in 2014, and funded the completion and opening of Brighton’s second preAPRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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offers support to the family around maximizing potential for the child and all involved. For children up to 5-years-old, The Brighton Center provides two childcare and pre-school facilities for all children. Children without disabilities are welcome in these centers, providing a supportive and nurturing learning environment. Socialization in these environments allows all children to thrive through individualized attention and peer interaction, regardless of disabilities or delays. Brighton also offers education services to the parents of children ages birth to 22-years-old. The Special Education Services provide group training for parents seeking support in their child’s education. Brighton informs parents on special education laws in Texas to prepare and support them through integrating their child into the public school system. Beyond the group training, Brighton also acts as an advocate for parents and their child by being present in administrative meetings and procedures. Another educational series for parents presented by Brighton in conjunction with the Kronkosky Foundation is based on the nationally recognized Nurturing Program and is called “Precious Minds, New Connections.” This series supports parents, families and caregivers of children from birth to 4-years-old. The

“SAN ANTONIO HAS A RARE GEM IN THE BRIGHTON CENTER, AND THE CITY SHOWS UP STRONG IN SUPPORT OF THEIR MISSION.”

school academy in September. Brighton’s services support children and their families from birth to 22-years-old. Therapy services, child education centers, parent and community training, and advocacy programs offer help to thousands in San Antonio with 18

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

these unmet needs: From birth to 3-years-old, Brighton offers The Early Childhood Intervention program. This intervention program involves intensive in-home therapy for children with disabilities and developmental delays. The program also

program is beneficial to families of children with and without disabilities, and focuses on creating a positive and nurturing environment for optimal growth and development. Offered free, and throughout Bexar county, this 10week course focuses on: Appropriate Expectations, Appropriate Discipline, Empathy, Understanding Parent & Child Roles, and Power and Independence of Children. Free childcare is provided at each session, along with refreshments for both parents and children. Brighton also integrates door-prizes throughout the program and graduation incentives. The generosity of time, service and support the Brighton Center offers San Antonio is remarkable. Their vision and efforts provide immense hope for families and children that would otherwise be lost within a system, expected to know how to handle such unexpected life circumstances. San Antonio has a rare gem in the Brighton Center, and the city shows up strong in support of their mission.


“MADELYN’S FAMILY HAS FOUND HOPE AND A QUALITY OF LIFE THEY NEVER DREAMED POSSIBLE FOLLOWING TRAGEDY.” A recent account of Brighton’s pivotal role in the quality of life for the families of children with disabilities is found in Madelyn’s story. Madelyn was born prematurely, when an emergency birth occurred via C-section, following a tragic car accident. As a result of the accident Madelyn suffers from cerebral palsy, blindness and seizures. Lost in her greatest moment of need, Madelyn’s teen-aged mother turned to Brighton. Brighton immediately came to Madelyn’s aid with developmental therapy, and offered a strong sense of hope for her family through their extensive support. Madelyn’s family was provided with a team for emotional support, a team accompanying doctor appointments, a team to translate what was said in those appointments, a team to help procure specialized equipment for Madelyn, a team for

accountability, a team for home-based therapy services and a team for on-going love and support. Forever grateful for the beacon of light offered through Brighton, Madelyn’s family has found hope and a quality of life they never dreamed possible following tragedy. And this is the thorough, genuine and critical care that the Brighton Center offers to more than 2,600 children in San Antonio. The impact of the Brighton Center is immeasurable. This impact, however, has a very measurable need of funding. And San Antonio races to meet this need without hesitation. Of the thousands who contribute time and money to the Brighton Center, among the most wellknown are its Queens of the Vine. Each year contestants campaign to raise funds for Brighton. Those raising the most money make up the Queen’s court, with the top contestant being crowned Queen. This year’s Queen’s court is Colleen Douglas, who raised $29,000; the Princess of the Vine Kosha Vriseno, who raised $51,000, and the Queen Janine Sauer, who raised an impressive $85,000 for Brighton Center. The Queen’s court fundraising comprises a significant portion of the $1.2 million funding needed for the center annually. Another significant pillar in Brighton’s ability to serve is the generosity of San Antonio’s Lynd family. For over a decade, Lynd, a San Antoniobased real estate management and development firm, has supported the Brighton Center with over half a million dollars. In addition to the family and organization’s generosity, Mike Lynd also encourages business associates and vendors to support Brighton through “A Taste of the Northside.” The Lynd family, along with their copresenting partner HEB, help keep the Brighton Center able to serve the San Antonio community in this unique and much needed way.

This year’s “A Taste of the Northside” event will be held on April 22nd at The Club at Sonterra from 5:30p.m. to 10:30p.m. Tickets are $65 for all-inclusive general admission, with $5 off online with the coupon code NSIDE. Over 60 restaurants will be dishing out their best, including Bob’s Steak and Chop, Boudro’s, Kirby’s Steak House in VIP, La Fogata, Maggiano’s, The Melting Pot and Saweet Bakery in general admission. Several food trucks, including Blanco’s BBQ, will also make an appearance. Serving up the beverages is Stella Artois in their enchanting Beer Garden, with top-shelf margaritas by Herradura and Avion tequilas, and wines by Cupcake, Chloe, Flip Flop, Rex Goliath, Franciscan and Simi. Entertainment is covered by sensational live music from The Max, Blue Finger and Joe Caruso. The night will end with a spectacular fireworks grand finale. “A Taste of the Northside” offers an alwaysmemorable food, drink, music, and social event that has become a Fiesta favorite and promises to deliver again in 2015. Join this year’s Queen Janine Sauer, her court, and your fellow Brighton supporters in celebrating and uplifting one of San Antonio’s most impactful charities. As the community comes together for the week of Fiesta, become a part of an exceptional experience of food, celebration, and remarkable generosity that San Antonio’s Northside and the Brighton Center has to offer. For tickets please visit www.tasteofthenorthside. com.

APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

19


DINING

THE ART OF GOOD FOOD Citrus Bayfront Bistro inside the Art Center of Corpus Christi By: CINDY PLATA

THE ART CENTER of Corpus Christi is a nonprofit organization that houses different mediums of art from community artists. The center is known for their ever-changing exhibits and art classes, as well as their “always free” admission. The Art Center offers a perfect view of the waterfront, so it is also a popular venue for weddings and other special occasions. But what about lunch? Technically, lunch does not count as a special occasion, yet the Art Center has the perfect place to grab a bite. Citrus Bayfront Bistro takes the “starving” out of artists and art lovers alike. Opened in October of 2012, Citrus is the creation of owner and foodie Cristina Madero. Although the bistro is only open from 20

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

11a.m. to 2p.m. Monday thru Friday, and Sundays from 11a.m. to 2:30p.m., Madero starts her day at Citrus early in the morning to prep all the food, bake and get ready for the lunch crowd. The menu at Citrus is

have on my menu are things I make well. I believe in simple, honest food.” On weekdays, there is a daily special which includes entrees such as chicken pot pie and beef lasagna. On Sundays, brunch is available. Customers can have made-to-order omelets, waffles with sausage or bacon, or anything else off the lunch menu. My meal of choice was the grilled chicken sandwich. Grilled chicken paired with baby Swiss, caramelized onions and roasted poblano peppers, finished with a chipotle pesto on a whole wheat hoagie. For my side, I chose the green salad with a champagne vinaigrette, the house dressing. As a starter, I went with abuela’s chicken soup, and I am glad I did. The chicken soup was the perfect remedy for the cold, drizzly day. It was filled

“IT’S NICE WHEN YOU DO WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO AND PEOPLE LOVE IT.” simple — mostly consisting of soups, salads and sandwiches. Madero explained, “I like to keep my menu small, but the things I do

with vegetables, rice and plenty of chicken. It had the perfect blend of spices, not too overwhelming, and it sure was good! Even the


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green salad was perfectly plated and looked excellent. The sandwich was warm, creamy and had the perfect balance of ingredients. It was just the right size for lunch, too. Naturally, it was scrumptious! My side salad was colorful, fresh and the champagne vinaigrette was different, new and an absolute delight. I didn’t know how my lunch could get any better with the combination of the view, my company and the food. But it did — with dessert! Pistachio cake already sounds too good to be true, but I can assure you, it is real. And it is a must-try at Citrus. The cake was moist and sweet, and the icing was the perfect complement to an already great piece of cake. I should also mention, the slice was big enough for three of us to share. Our only complaint? Not enough room in our bellies to eat more! With our bellies full and happy, there was only one thing left to do, and that was to enjoy the scenery. The environment inside Citrus is just like its food—simple, casual and colorful. The walls are decorated with beautiful artwork from a local artist. Madero explained that all of the artwork displayed in her restaurant is for sale, and though it is all done by one artist, she is open to hanging artwork from other local artists in the community. The walls are brightly colored, and the dining rooms are perfectly set up so that customers can enjoy the view of the waterfront from any table. Madero further detailed, “The people from the Art Center are really supportive and very nice. I love the view from our dining room, and my customers seem happy too.” Madero also explained that Citrus is closed on Saturdays so that her space can be used for private events, but if nothing is scheduled, she is always happy to take the day off. Citrus Bayfront Bistro is an ideal place for a light lunch with friends, or even brunch with the family on Sundays. The bistro is also the perfect rental place for special occasions like baby showers, weddings and bridal showers. Citrus can accommodate up to 120 guests. The laidback ambiance, paired with the view of the water, makes for an enjoyable, relaxing time. The artwork is interesting, and truly showcases the talents of local artists in the community. Though the real winner is the food. Cristina Madero’s passion for food and satisfying her customers shows in her dedication to her own art — food. “I love cooking. It’s nice when you do what you love to do and people love it,” says Madero with a smile. For more information call 361.882.2047 or visit www.citrusbayfrontbistro.com. Citrus Bayfront Bistro is located at 100 N. Shoreline Blvd., in Corpus Christi, TX 78401.

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DINING

THE BLACK AND BLUE COLD BREWED COFFEE IS BY FAR THE MOST POPULAR COFFEE OF CHOICE.

ROSELLA TURNS ONE From new coffee shop to a San Antonio hot spot SPECIAL TO NSIDE

YOU MAY RECOGNIZE Charles Gonzalez from his anchoring position at KSAT, but when he’s not wearing a tie for broadcast, he’s patting his hands on his pants to get rid of the chalk dust left behind from writing Rosella’s menu on a large chalkboard wall. It’s hard to tell by looking at the beautiful location — a two-story warehouse building with warm lighting and a high, wood ceiling — but only a year ago, Gonzalez was just trying to get his dream of owning a local coffee shop, that would become a community hot spot, off the ground. When asked how he felt after a year of owning Rosella, Gonzalez said, “Tired. Very tired, but also extremely humbled that I had a vision and people enjoyed it enough to come back and bring their friends and allow 22

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

us to offer them what we hope and believe to be a truly great experience.” With a diverse menu and charming location, for most, it has truly served as a great place to unwind, study, or just enjoy a moment downtown. Ask Gonzalez what he recommends first time guests try during their first visit to Rosella and he’ll say the avocado toast in a heartbeat. “Anyone who enjoys avocados even slightly should try that,” he explained. “I’ll admit, I was skeptical about this item being on our menu at first, but it’s our most popular food. People really enjoy it to the point where after a few weeks, we just started offering it all day.” Those who aren’t crazy about avocado though, may find themselves enjoying the

egg cloud or chicken salad sandwich, additions that were made to the menu after a few months of operation. For even more options, guests will find that 2015 is bringing many new additions to be written on the chalkboard—paninis, jalapeno grilled cheese, and more are expected to make their Rosella debut in the coming months. Also, at Rosella, you’d better believe that their caffeinated beverage options are topnotch. San Antonians in search of a hot Americano or some delicate latte art should look no further than 203 E. Jones Ave. As for what the most popular coffee of choice is, Gonzalez says it is by far the Black and Blue cold brewed coffee. “It’s nitrogenated coffee that comes out of a stout beer tap so the whole effect is some-


“ASK GONZALEZ WHAT HE RECOMMENDS FIRST TIME GUESTS TRY DURING THEIR FIRST VISIT TO ROSELLA AND HE’LL SAY THE AVOCADO TOAST IN A HEARTBEAT.” what mesmerizing. It’s also one of the best cold brew coffees I’ve ever tasted.” For those who never quite understood why coffee is so widely consumed, wine and beer selections are available to satisfy them as well. The beer is mostly local, from breweries like Busted Sandal, Adelbert’s and of course, Shiner. Guests can also choose from various red and white wines. Gonzalez’s hope for 2015 is that the San Antonio community will come to view Rosella not only as a place for a great cup of coffee, but also a place to stop by during a night on the town. “We plan to upgrade our live music offerings on the weekends with our extended hours and added outdoor speakers to a great courtyard that we aren’t using nearly as often as we should,” said Gonzalez about his plans for the future. “We had one art installation in 2014 and it was really well received. We are planning on doing much more in 2015 because we really do want to be a center for our community not just for coffee, but for art and other great causes.” Gonzalez believes that were it not for such a strong family support system and accommodating work team at KSAT, Rosella would not have made it to a year. His advice to others trying to launch a business is simple. Making time for loved ones is just as important as being at work. “Have an amazing and understanding wife and make time for family as often as you can,” Gonzalez said. “We both knew it was going to be a lot of work. The leadership at KSAT has also been beyond gracious in allowing me to adjust my schedule.” Despite all of Rosella’s success, Gonzalez is still as humbled as ever that people continue to walk through the front doors of his building. For him and his wife, it’s a dream come true. “Again, we’ve just been blown away by the community’s response,” Gonzalez shared. “We are not located in a hub of activity like the Pearl, but we still draw a crowd. The fact that some people may go out of their way to walk through our doors is extremely humbling.” Turning one this March, Rosella’s doors are expected to keep swinging open for years to come. For more information call 210.277.8574 or visit www.rosellacoffee.com. Rosella is located at 203 E. Jones Ave, Suite 101 in San Antonio, TX 78215.

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DINING

FEEDING AUSTIN’S CREATIVE SOULS Creative culinary concoctions and coffee come to Canopy By: ASHLEY MCELYEA

SA-TEN COFFEE & EATS is a cozy, Japanese influenced café in an artistic, edgy complex called Canopy. At 40,000 square feet, Canopy is a creative community that houses artists’ studios, galleries, and an event space all designed to foster a creative atmosphere to inspire and support local artists. Sa-Ten feeds these creatives with artistic, inspirational cuisine and delicious coffee. Everything about this place felt like artwork. Walking up Sa-Ten’s steps, you’re greeted with an open courtyard replete with benches where people can sit and converse about the local artwork while savoring their coffees and pastries. Tables and chairs sit outside the café’s large beautiful windows, flanked by two wooden doors, for those perfect weather days to enjoy the sky above, perhaps sketching out the next great masterpiece. Finally, when you open the door to SaTen you’re immediately met with the smell of espresso, the sounds of blues and jazz and the comforting chatter of a friendly coffee shop. The concrete floor and industrial feel is a perfect minimalist setting amongst the equally minimalist galleries and spaces that surround the café. The cozy and relaxed feel — that is not usually associated with the minimalist approach — is brought by the 24

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

wooden counters, artsy tables, a big couch and a panel of squirrel wallpaper. The lunch menu is filled with many delightful options, and bringing friends or family to share plates is an absolute must. I treated my mum and stepdad to a day trip in Austin, so we decided to get lunch first. And by get lunch, we actually ordered a feast: an

yaki. Both were fried and served as bite size, so don’t worry about having to cut through everything. Each were lightly topped with their specialty sauces, and instead of overpowering the chicken, it was just the right amount to complement the dish. Both of these dishes also came with a kale salad and the option of sticky rice or anchovy toast. After all of this, we still had our side of grilled okra, grilled broccoli and macaroni fuji salad. The okra and broccoli, grilled to perfection, were crisp and flavorful. The macaroni fuji salad is my personal favorite, macaroni with thinly sliced cucumbers and fuji apples. It was a refreshing cool salad that ended our feast impeccably. With as much fried food as we ate, it was a pleasant surprise that none of their dishes sat too heavy or uncomfortable, as most fried foods tend to. There was a perfect balance of fried meats and light sides that gave it a hearty balance. And if that’s not enough, the drink selection was just as heavenly. As this was a coffee shop, I would have been sorely mistaken to not try their house favorite, the Ohayo — a breve brown sugar cappuccino. It was expertly crafted with a beautiful foam to espresso ratio. I was worried the brown sugar would leave an odd texture, but it all blended together beautifully. Another house favorite was their lemonade, also made with brown sugar. This too blended together with perfection. Naturally, they had the staples of any coffee shop such as lattes, mochas and Americanos. The most impressive fact was that at one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, as steadily busy as it was, the staff worked together seamlessly ensuring the orders were promptly delivered and freshly made to order. If you have been wanting to try something re-

THE SRIRACHA MAYO SALMON TOAST IS A HEAVY FAVORITE, AND IT’S NO SURPRISE WHY. THE SPICE OF THE SRIRACHA WAS TAMED AND PROVIDED JUST ENOUGH KICK TO COMPLEMENT THE FRESH TASTE OF THE SALMON. order of toast, two big dishes and a few extra sides fed us well. The Sriracha mayo salmon toast is a heavy favorite, and it’s no surprise why. The spice of the Sriracha was tamed and provided just enough kick to complement the fresh taste of the salmon. The dried seaweed on top added a different texture that we thoroughly enjoyed. Also enjoyed were two plates of chicken katsu with curry and chicken teri-

laxed, cozy and very affordable — the most expensive item is only $10 — spending an afternoon out at Sa-Ten would be the perfect outing for any Austinite. For more information call 512.524.1544 or visit www.sa-ten.com. Sa-Ten Coffee & Eats is located in Canopy at 916 Springdale Road, Bldg. 3, Suite 101 in Austin, TX 78702.


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DINING

“FOOD SHOULD UNITE AND NOT DIVIDE.”

CULINARY CREATIONS Learning to cook with Silver Whisk — dashes of fun and spoonfuls of smiles By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

GROWING UP in a small suburb outside of New Orleans, Myrna Kallergis, Founder and CEO of Silver Whisk in Austin, explains that food was always around her. “Even lunches at school were often Cajun/Creole themed. My mother is Filipino and she always cooked Filipino food. Add it all together and throughout my life, I have always been exposed to diverse cooking and loved them all,” 26

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

says Kallergis. In 1998, Myrna came to Texas to attend culinary school at the Art Institute of Houston. She actually became a well-known chef in H-town where she got her first big chef jobs and became immersed in Houston’s culinary melting pot. She recalls, “I loved going to the Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and local food markets. I especially enjoyed working alongside the strong female

chefs, fellow chef instructors and ethnically well-versed chefs in the area.” Named “Iron Chef Houston” by CBS’ “Great Day Houston”, Chef Myrna recounts competing for this title on a local television show in order to help raise money for the Houston Food Bank. The winner received a big donation made in their name. Myrna was the youngest chef competing and one of the few females. She says, “I remember getting to the final round against the executive chef of the Strip House — a really great restaurant in Houston — and the chef was much older, more experienced and confident. We both got the secret ingredient of “spam,” and he wasn’t happy about that. I was thrilled.” Getting around Texas may not have been in Chef Myrna’s plans, but for 7 years she worked at almost every Central Market across Texas. She was also the culinary director for Sur La Table in Houston, taught at Lake Austin Spa for 5 years and now has the ultimate honor to teach at her own cooking school—Silver Whisk for the last 4 years. According to Chef Myrna, “Austin is one of the coolest cities in the country, and this is coming from a girl who grew up mere miles away from New Orleans.” She continues, “I had a vision to open a cooking school that wasn’t afraid to have an opinion. I wanted to be free and not think from a corporate mind, but rather from a creative chef mind. Many chefs who are highly creative lack the business mind to properly execute a

vision without a business manager and investor. I knew I had to bank on myself and put my money on my vision.” This is exactly what Chef Myrna accomplished nearly 4 years ago. She wanted a fun, dynamic and innovative company that people would come back to because they couldn’t find an experience like it anywhere else. She knew she could cook; she knew she was fun; she knew talented chefs and also knew that she had the self-discipline to open a cooking school and run it. Chef Myrna wrote a business plan, put her money where her mouth was and opened Silver Whisk. Austinites have embraced the cooking school for its creativity and fun atmosphere to learn how to cook certain dishes in all types of ways. The options are infinite. “Food should unite and not divide. I dislike how some chefs try to use their knowledge to intimidate non-chefs. One of the reasons the Food Network has been so successful is because they make home cooks feel empowered in their own kitchens, and they entertain people. I wanted to do that on a local level for everyday people,” explains Kallergis. The uniqueness of Silver Whisk lies in the sense of creative freedom they encourage the chefs to express and share their culinary point of view. Silver Whisk’s purpose is to entertain, inform and elevate the average home cook’s skill sets. “We want them to walk away with a new, usable kitchen skill from each class that helps them


at home in their own kitchen.” With hands-on-cooking, classes, cooking competitions, and private events, Chef Myrna and her team have created an amazing cooking school for individuals, groups and businesses. When Silver Whisk first opened, Myrna thought that the classes would be their bread and butter, and the private events would be an additional side. As time unfolded, the private events have become a huge part of the business. Companies were buying classes out in order to have their team buildings at Silver Whisk. “We started developing our team building and even coming up with things like food jeopardy and creating team names and raffling genres of food to cook in the middle of class,” says Kallergis, adding, “It’s these outof-the-box ideas that our clients gravitated to and loved.” And they still do. The most popular classes are the date night classes and any class with live music. Food and dating are synonymous. People don’t just want to go out to dinner and see a movie. “It’s Austin. They want something unique and interactive. You add music, food and couples and you’ve got yourself a highly entertaining night out,” explains Kallergis enthusiastically, adding that, “One of our key secrets is that we won’t hire anyone we wouldn’t have coffee with, and we all love what we do and love the city we do it in.” It doesn’t get much better than that as a place

to work and a place to visit and have fun. Currently, Chef Myrna is working on her first cook book with her 3-year-old son. “I can only get my son to eat certain foods such as kale, carrots and spinach if he actually cooks them. If he helps cut, season and cook alongside me, he is opened to almost anything that is good for him. It takes time and patience, but it is well worth it. You are not only developing your child’s palate, but you are giving them a life skill and building memories with them.” Chef Myrna wants to expand her brand and company and help bring the spotlight to other talented chefs out there. She would love to be in every major food town starting with Houston. “In all of my efforts, I want to show my son that with hard work, vision and determination, all things are possible,” explains Kallergis, adding that, “If I don’t chase my dreams, how can I possibly encourage him to chase his own one day?” Chef Myrna has made one of her dreams come true, and Austinites are embracing the Silver Whisk. Given her success, her growth into other markets lies on the next horizon. For more information call 512.826.8841, visit www.silverwhiskcooking.com, or find them on Facebook and Twitter. Silver Whisk is located at 1501 Ranch Road, 620 North Suite C, Lakeway, Texas 78734. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

27


FINANCE

FORGING FINANCES Five steps to retooling your finances this next quarter By: MIKE MCCLAIN

THE SECOND QUARTER is upon us, and it’s the perfect time to assess your finances and take steps to ensure you are managing your earnings in the best way possible. Over the past 25 years, I helped, observed, and lead teams that guided individuals and families to achieve a better investing experience by focusing on the things they can and should control and letting capital markets work for them. Here are a few topics to consider in retooling your finances for the remainder of 2015:

» MAKE A PLAN

Everyone needs to have a financial plan, regardless of his or her assets. Whether you are simply trying to maintain your current standard of living or planning for your children or grandchildren, where and how you invest and save your money is crucial to your future. The first step in planning for the remaining quarters is to evaluate your income versus outflow in the previous year, and determine if there will be any substantial foreseeable changes to that pattern in the year to come. If you predict your income and outflow to be relatively similar, your next steps should be to evaluate how you plan to save over the next year. Use your past and future 28

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

plans to create a working cash management plan for each month.

» EVALUATE YOUR INVESTMENTS

Instead of adopting the approach of picking and choosing stocks by guessing which way the market is going to go, choose a different course, one that is based on academic research. Diversification is your friend but so is investing in a market that has the highest expected rate of return. Broad diversification, along with reduced expenses and a

are going to go. Look back at past investments and their rate of success. Were your investments highly volatile, or did you earn a steady income? Take the knowledge you gained from a year of these stocks and use that to reinvest your earnings.

» ASSESS YOUR GOALS

Take a look at the past, and determine if your lifestyle has changed in a way that might change your overall financial goals. Has your family expanded? Did you move

“DIVERSIFICATION IS YOUR FRIEND BUT SO IS INVESTING IN A MARKET THAT HAS THE HIGHEST EXPECTED RATE OF RETURN.” focus on asset classes, rather than individual securities, will cause investors to have a far superior experience than if they were to stressfully guess which way the markets

into a larger home or make another decision that somehow changed your lifestyle? You should develop a prudent distribution strategy to maintain your desired lifestyle,


while at the same time supply enough to leave assets for generations to come. In addition, estate plans should be reevaluated every few years to determine how plans should change with new tax laws.

» PREPARE FOR TAXES

Taxes are always a key topic within money and wealth management, and the earlier you can begin preparing for them, the better. A typical wealth management team should include professionals that are skilled in taxes, such as CPAs, to ensure tax efficiency — reducing taxes as much as possible.

» INVEST IN RETIREMENT

Believe it or not, wealthy individuals need to save far more than the average citizen. Although the opposite may seem true, a smaller percentage of wealthy individuals’ retirement savings will come from social security, thus a larger savings will be needed to continue living a certain lifestyle.

For more information call 210.736.7798 or visit www.monticellogroup.com. Mike McClain is the Senior Vice President of the Monticello Group at Jefferson Bank, which provides customized wealth management solutions for individuals, families, retirement plans and philanthropic organizations.


FINANCE

IT’S TAX TIME! Are you ready for tax season? SPECIAL TO NSIDE TEXAS

MWG TAX SERVICE is one of Houston’s rising stars in tax and financial services. Even the IRS has lauded CEO Melody Gilmore for her excellence in customer service, tax preparation and client information. Melody Gilmore has a versatile and credible staff consisting of teachers, restaurant managers, medical administrators and realtors — all of whom are owners of home-based businesses and certified tax professionals. Their consultations and products are designed to educate their clients about the most recent tax laws, to reduce tax liabilities and also provide solutions to practical financial challenges. The number one goal is to legally, morally, and ethically reduce taxes and encourage financial freedom. With tax season upon us, MWG Tax & Financial Services LLC wants their clients to be well prepared and educated on all updated tax laws. New for 2014 is the Affordable Care Act tax process. MWG wants all readers and clients to familiarize themselves by researching new health insurance tax information and pre-emptively obtaining proper forms/documentation that will be needed by tax preparers. Home-based business owners and independent contractors are provided tax tips that will save them thousands of dollars.

MWG’S TOP TAX TIPS FOR 2015:

» BE

PREPARED: As you prepare to file taxes this year, please remember to bring the following documents to your tax office: • State or government issued photo identification • Social security cards for your entire tax household, including each dependent • Copy of previous year’s tax return • All W-2 forms for the year • New 1095/8962s from the health insurance marketplace or The Exchange • 1099s for business owners, clergy and 30

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

other non-W-2 wage earners • Full-year spreadsheet of receipts, mileage logs and all itemized deductions

» BE INFORMED: Are you aware that this

year taxpayers will be penalized for not having health insurance? Experts in the field are estimating this will be our worst tax season

as The Exchange. Taxpayers had the option in 2014 to pay this credit in advance to decrease insurance premiums, or the taxpayer had the option to claim all of the credit once they filed their taxes for 2014. If paid in advance, taxpayers will reconcile the amount paid in advance with the actual credit computed when filing their tax return.

“HOME-BASED BUSINESS OWNERS ARE NOT GET-RICH-QUICK FANATICS LOOKING TO GET RICH OVERNIGHT. RATHER, THEY’RE WISE TAXPAYERS WHO UNDERSTAND HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE MOST OUT OF THEIR CURRENT INCOME BY DOING BUSINESS OUT OF THEIR HOMES.” ever. Why? Tax payers that did not have insurance during 2014 will have to provide several new forms this year, that are new to the IRS and the tax preparer. Un-/Underinsured taxpayers must be prepared to pay a penalty for not being covered per adult and child within their tax household. If you were uninsured for any part of 2014, please be aware of the following: • Know your household income before filing your taxes According to The Affordable Care Act, adults will be penalized $95 and $47.50 per child within the tax household • Understand the Premium Tax Credit – an approved advance and refundable tax credit designed to assist eligible individuals and families of low, or moderate, income afford health insurance purchased through the health insurance marketplace, also known

If you applied for health coverage via the health insurance marketplace, please know that any changes in your income, family size, or benefits will severely hinder your tax preparation process. These changes should have been updated within The Exchange system. If not, please be prepared to produce extra documentation that will be required and requested by the IRS before your tax preparer will be able to complete your return. Listed below are specific changes that may affect your premium tax credit: • Increase or decrease in household income • Marriage or divorce • Birth or adoption of a child • Other changes of your household composition • Gaining or losing eligibility of government/employer sponsored coverage

» BE WISE: A wise taxpayer is a taxpayer


that understands the power of being a homebased business owner! Owning a home-based business allows you to lower your tax liability and substantially increases your tax refund. According to former IRS attorney and senior tax law specialist Sandy Botkin, one would be “brain dead not to start a home-based business if you don’t already have one.” Homebased business owners are not get-rich-quick fanatics looking to get rich overnight. Rather, they’re wise taxpayers who understand how to maximize the most out of their current income by doing business out of their homes. Homebased business owners can potentially save up to $10,000 per year owning your own part-time business.

» BE SAFE: According to literature, 75 percent

of tax fraud is committed by individuals, rather than corporations or independent tax preparers. Tax code fraud is what we suggest taxpayers are aware of. Some tax preparers participate in tax schemes for personal gain. Before you leave your tax preparer’s office this year, please verify the following items relating to your tax return: • Never leave without checking your fees and tax preparer information. Do not leave the office if the 1040 main information or your 8879 e-file signature form says, “Self-Prepared.”

• Always verify your bank routing and account information to ensure your money will be routed to you. • Stay in contact with your tax preparer, you should never have to hunt him or her down! MWG Tax & Financial Services LLC wants you to be a prepared, informed and wise tax payer this coming season. Please do your homework before placing your most personal and confidential tax information into the hands of your next tax preparer. Your tax preparer should provide you with tax strategies, and practical financial solutions that will reduce

your taxes and at the same time decrease your chances of being audited. Choose a tax professional who is IRS compliant, has a verifiable preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and has participated in annual, required tax education training. For more information call 832.523.7222, email Melody Gilmore at melodygilmore@mgtaxservice.biz or find them on Facebook. MWG Tax and Financial Services LLC is located at 2626 South Loop West, Suite 174 in Houston, TX 77054.


FINANCE

ETHICAL WILLS

Passing on the values behind your success By: AMANDA N. ROSS

THE DYNAMICS of wealth planning and decision-making for parents may seem a bit complicated and challenging. Once you start thinking about your legacy and how you envision it taking shape, you may find yourself asking a number of financial questions. How much money am I going to leave my children? Do I include extended family? Who will steer the family business? There is another crucial aspect of legacy that’s often overlooked: the values behind your success. According to a study conducted by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 74 percent of parents say values and life lessons are most important to pass on to the next generation. Sharing the values that shaped your success with your family ensures they appreciate your hard work, understand how much it means to you and has an impact on future generations. Consider implementing an ethical will to complement estate planning. An ethical will is a document, usually one or two pages, mentioning the values that shape your success. It is usually an end-of-life summary that is used in conjunction with documents that determine how your assets will be distributed. Some families write them together during family gatherings, gathering different insights and learning lessons from each other. An ethical will may mention your vision and wishes for your family and generations to come, encouraging them to make a difference and value your legacy. Some ethical wills offer rich insights and are highly descriptive, mentioning major life events and how they came about in shaping personal goals, beliefs and values. Ethical wills don’t have a legal standing, but they do help pass on important life lessons, providing your family with a clear sense of your personal values. It also helps avoid any discussions or misunderstandings regarding money matters, considering it complements estate planning and can also be used to improve communication among family members; helping explain why your plan was set up a certain way. 32

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For more information contact Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, Tiffany Mock Briggs, in the San Antonio LaCantera office at 210.278.3813 or tiffany_mock@ml.com. The investments or strategies presented do not take into account the investment objectives or financial needs of particular investors. It is important that you consider this information in the context of your personal risk tolerance and investment goals. Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”) “Merrill Lynch” refers to any company in the Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., group of companies, which are wholly owned by Bank of America Corporation. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value © 2014 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.


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involved though. In the first example the value of the house, 401K and bank accounts are relatively easy to establish. However, the value of a multi-million dollar business is determined by an expert, who reviews massive amounts of information to determine the amount.

LEGAL

» PERSONALITIES OF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED

The personalities of the couple can be a huge driver of expense. Easy to get along with and cooperative costs less. Obstreperous spouses, those impaired because of drug or alcohol abuse or a mental disorder increases the cost. So too can the personality of the lawyer on the other side for the same reasons; easy, cooperative and professional versus unskilled or unscrupulous.

SOME RULES OF THUMB ABOUT THE COST

THE COST OF DIVORCE Being a good steward of your money By: JANET MCCULLAR P.C.

ONE OF THE MOST common questions I get asked when I meet with a potential client is, “How much will my divorce cost?” It’s a reasonable question, and I often wish I had a simple and satisfactory answer. The answer I give? “It depends.” So let’s talk about what that means, and what you can do to be a good steward of your money.

» HOW LAWYERS ARE PAID

The vast majority of lawyers charge by the hour for their time and their staff ’s. Hourly rates can vary greatly depending on the lawyer’s level of experience and expertise. For example, a new lawyer with little experience might charge as little as $150 per hour in my county. The most experienced lawyers charge $500 and higher. Lawyers charge in increments of an hour for any time spent working on your case. So the divorce cost is a calculation of: Hourly rates × amount of time = cost of divorce. Expect additional costs such as copying charges or the cost to file the divorce.

CALCULATION OF TIME FACTORS

» COMPLEXITY OF YOUR DIVORCE

Does your marital estate consist of a house, 401K and a couple of bank accounts? Not so complex. Does your spouse own a multimillion dollar business? Complex. It’s not just the dollar amounts 36

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How much does it cost to buy a house? The fees involved in the purchase of a home can be around eight percent. If you buy a house that costs $150,000 that results in a fee of $12,000. On the other hand, if you buy a house that costs $15,000,000 that results in a fee of $1,200,000. The cost of divorce can be similar to the purchase of a home. The bigger the marital estate, the higher the cost. Another factor can be a cost benefit analysis. Let’s say two experts disagree about the value of the business owned by a spouse. One expert’s valuation is $10,000,000, the other expert’s assessment is $10,500,000. The difference in value — $500,000 — can help determine what amount, if any, a party should spend pursuing the difference, if the parties are unwilling to compromise. This becomes more complex if children are involved in a custody dispute because we cannot place a value on the children.

» BEING A GOOD STEWARD

Understand how your attorney will charge you. That means reading the employment agreement, and asking questions if you don’t know what the terms you are agreeing to mean. Review the invoices you receive from the attorney, and make sure you understand what the charges were for, including the entries made by the attorney and any staff. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand the charges. If you don’t ask right away you may lose the opportunity because the attorney will assume you accept the charges. Ask your attorney what you can do to help control costs. This can be as simple as batching your questions in one email instead of sending five emails over a couple of days. For information call 512.342.9933, visit www.jmccullarlaw.com or email info@jmccullarlaw.com. The Law Office of Janet McCullar is located at 3200 Steck Ave., Suite 300 in Austin, TX 78757. Janet McCullar is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Janet is a nationally respected trial attorney known for her skill and success in the courtroom. Janet has represented clients in hundreds of complex divorce and custody cases. Despite her skill as a litigator, Janet’s cases are routinely resolved amicably whenever possible to save the client the time, cost and pain involved in litigation. If litigation cannot be avoided, you need the services of a respected and skilled litigator. Janet is a frequent author and speaker on divorce and custody issues.


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1


PROFILE

RACE FOR THE FUTURE ★

With the mayoral race underway and election day rapidly approaching, Mike Villarreal champions prudent policies and diversified economic development for the Alamo City By: SINJIN HILASKI

D

ays after winning re-election with 86 percent of District 123’s votes, former State Representative Mike Villarreal officially resigned from his long-held position in the Texas House of Representatives, and on January 28th, 2015 at 10:01 a.m., Mike formally filed his mayoral candidacy papers, joining 13 other mayoral candidates in the race for San Antonio’s future. Though election day isn’t until May 9th, the ambitious candidate has worked long hours campaigning and espousing his vision for the future San Antonio. The Alamo City native earned his bachelor’s at Texas A&M and master’s at Harvard in economics and statistics and public policy, respectively. It’s these studies that have shaped his pragmatic economic outlook and belief in the government’s role and responsibility to create a hospitable business environment. Though there are 13 other mayoral candidates, Mike Villarreal is one of the few, if not sole, candidate who has openly outlined and explained how he envisions the proper functioning of city government. These proper functions, roles and responsibilities illustrate a fiscally restrained, yet policy pro-active, government that places private-public partnership at the centerpiece of San Antonio’s economic development plan. This looks like “a city government that understands the biggest impact it can have is in partnership with others,” said Mike Villarreal at his campaign headquarters. Indeed, the city of San Antonio recently entered into a public-private partnership with investors who’d purchased the right to access water north of Travis County. These investors, in collaboration with San Antonio Water System, will construct and operate a pipeline to bring that water source to the city, increasing the city’s water supply by 20 percent. It’s acts like these that Mike believes are the key to furthering San Antonio’s economic success. Coupled with this, the mayoral candidate wants to create

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a collection of temporary and summer jobs that would pair education with experience-based training. The initiative would incorporate “high school students, college students, adults who want to come back to school and want to couple their learning with hands-on job training.” The program, “SA Works”, is currently based at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and under Mike’s guide would offer internships, apprenticeships, co-op hours and summer jobs. The idea is to create job opportunities in five sectors: health and biosciences, information and technology, cyber security, automotive and aerospace manufacturing. “The vision is to allow our people to have ready access to job training that is experiential, it’s about learning by doing,” said Mike, adding that, “It feeds into a part of our economy that is hungry for skilled talent. Whether it’s having a certification to fix the robots that Toyota uses or acquiring computer programming languages that are in hot demand at Rackspace...We want to have these opportunities for our young people to really deepen their learning and have it be relevant to

Mike’s adamance in furthering San Antonio’s opportunities for youth and businesses alike stems from first-hand experience. When Mike was growing up in San Antonio there was a “brain drain,” where the city lost many educated youths to other appealing cities. “I want to be the mayor that brings them back, and keeps the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors and anybody with 21st century skills here in San Antonio,” said Mike eagerly. It’s this goal of retaining talent, coupled with a vision of inward growth, that has positioned Mike as a forward-thinking pragmatist with the policy plans to back it up. Rather than following the city’s old trend of looking outward for growth, the new day Mike envisions would follow “a balanced approach, that not just looks outward but looks inward, and invests its time, energy and resources in growing jobs locally.” Though to achieve this it’s necessary that the city at large focuses on narrowing, and ultimately eliminating, the skills gap in our current workforce. This requires an earnest assessment of where the workforce falls short, and where the city and in-

“I WANT TO BE THE MAYOR THAT BRINGS THEM BACK, AND KEEPS THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCIENTISTS, ENTREPRENEURS, INVENTORS AND ANYBODY WITH 21ST CENTURY SKILLS HERE IN SAN ANTONIO” our economy.” Private-public partnership with San Antonio’s biggest employers and innovators is imperative to achieve these goals because “the city government can’t do that alone, it has to be in partnership.”

dustry leaders can cooperate to ensure a mutually beneficial solution. One method would be to evaluate the number of associate and bachelor degrees produced in a given area, such as mathematics or STEM in general, compared


APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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to the demand. There’s currently a gap in the number of STEM graduates and the number of businesses scouring San Antonio for eligible candidates, and this is something that can, and should, be rectified. Though Mike is quick to explain that closing the skills gap “is not something that can be solved by city government alone, or any form of government, it has to be in partnership with our employers. Solutions need to be industry led.” Alongside closing the skills gaps Mike believes that “we need to make sure that the natural conditions that allow for and support entrepreneurs to launch their businesses here are in place.” According to Mike, these natural conditions are “low taxes, sane regulations and access to capital.” Ride share is a prime example of city hall passing regulations that smothered business. In a city with low transportation options and high incidents of driving while intoxicated, ride share served as an alternative, publicly safe option for those wanting to travel around or get home after imbibing too much. “It was really unfortunate to see the city, essentially, in the business of passing regulations to protect the taxi cab industry, instead of allowing for competition,” said Mike. “If these regulations are still in place when I become mayor, I will make it a high priority to undue the damage and send a message to the world that San Antonio embraces the 21st century, innovation and technology.” Aside from ride share programs, Mike believes that the city needs to help people “get unstuck from traffic.” VIA Metropolitan Transit has a vision, Mike shares, of a system where there would be parking garages at outer perimeter locations near highways where residents could park and ride regularly scheduled, reliable buses leaving every 10 to 15 minutes and traveling on a dedicated HOV lane. This would propel public transportation in San Antonio giving residents dependable, frequent buses to cross town, ultimately cutting down on traffic. Looking internally at the city government’s operations, Mike is persistently pragmatic. Addressing the impasse betwixt police and fire unions and the city government on healthcare costs, Mike believes that, “What we spend on public safety should rise no faster than the revenue that feeds the general fund.” Focusing on San Antonians’ chief concern, Mike believes that it is necessary to have a contract that attracts the best public safety talent and is financially sustainable. Both of which are achievable. “We know that our [the city’s] general fund on average has grown by 4.2 percent and public safety, on the other hand, has been increasing, on average, by 5.6 percent. Public safety can continue to grow, but it shouldn’t be growing faster than general revenue,” said Mike. Naturally, Mike, like many other San Antonians, wants

“I WILL NOT BE SUPPORTING TAX INCREASES TO SUPPORT THE GENERAL OPERATIONS OF OUR CITY GOVERNMENT” police officers’ and firefighters’ health cost covered, but it isn’t sustainable as a long-term plan. Though the city and unions have been making progress toward a deal, albeit slowly, Mike explains that the problem isn’t unsolvable and by addressing it now the city at large will be better for it. While the city is currently wrestling with healthcare costs for public safety officials, the sitting city council did see fit to propose a pay raise for council members and the mayor’s office be placed on the May 9th ballot. Mike believes that there should be earnest, open discussion on the subject of pay raises for these government officials, rather than seeing the usual rigamarole of slick slogans and fancy stickers. “I support the idea of paying our city council and our mayor, but it’s not my top priority. I actually think the most important thing we can do to ensure the fiscal stability of our city is to get this public safety contract done right,” said Mike earnestly. “If they choose to go forward, I hope that there’s a plan on having meaningful conversation with the public on the importance of paying council, but it’s not my highest priority.” With the public safety contract still under discussion and the city council calling for higher wages, San Antonians should consider how the city will fund its general operations, given the general funds’ average growth of 4.2 percent. As the population continues to grow and the economy strengthens, the property tax revenue generated in San

Antonio is growing. Seeing this trend Mike explains that “with our growing population and growing economy, there’s no reason to increase the property tax rates of our city.” “I pledge to the hard working tax payers of San Antonio to keep a lid on taxes,” said Mike definitively, adding that, “I will not be supporting tax increases to support the general operations of our city government.” Espousing pragmatic policies on structured, partner-driven growth and a fiscally reserved city government, Mike Villarreal holds the reins of San Antonio’s future, and under his judicious guide the city stands to prosper on a number levels. Given his proven track record and commitment to non-partisan politics—alongside his dedication to keeping San Antonians at the forefront of development—the Alamo City’s native son is poised to further his hometown, with forward being the only direction. “This is not a Plan B for me,” muses Mike, passionately adding that, “I’m the only candidate who’s had the singular focus of serving the city of San Antonio with an agenda of concrete ideas of how to serve the citizens of San Antonio...If they [San Antonians] have a mayor that’s serving them in a way that’s a priority, that’s what will improve the quality of life.” Election day is inching closer with each passing second. The city of San Antonio stands at a cross road with a rich future at its finger tips and only a ballot mark away. ■ APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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TEXAS BUSINESS

A Capital Area Food Bank of Texas mobile food pantry volunteer gives Mary Messer, 70, food during a food distribution in November.

FEEDING TEXAS The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas helps the hungry By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

WHEN A GROUP of concerned Austinites get together and brainstorm to fight for a cause, in this case hunger, great things happen as a result of their beliefs. A group of Austinites recognized the need for emergency food assistance, as well as the availability of surplus food from various food companies and grocery stores that might otherwise go to waste, and the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas knew that this food could help feed the less fortunate throughout the region. The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas was the second food bank in Texas, the first opened in San Antonio in 1979. One month after the Capital Food Bank opened, a third Texas food bank opened in Dallas. In 1982, the Food Bank’s first year, about 330,000 pounds of food was donated. In 2006, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas added an important public role-leader and public advocate for hungry central Texans. The Food Bank supports local, state, and federal antihunger legislation and provides leadership to mobilize community action. Today, the Capital Area Food Bank provides food and 42

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grocery products through a network of nearly 300 partner agencies and nutrition programs, serving nearly 46,000 people every week. Headquartered in Austin, the Food Bank serves 21 counties in central Texas, an area about twice the size of Massachusetts. The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas believes that all central Texans should have access to the nutritious food necessary to achieve their full potential. “As a leader in the fight against hunger for more than 30 years, our mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger,” said Hank Perret, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. “To do that, we work with food donors, financial supporters and volunteers to fill unmet needs in central Texas. This commitment from private, government and charitable partners allowed us to bring 26 million meals to our community last year.” Together with the 300 partner agencies, 31 million pounds of food was provided to families in need during the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the largest amount distributed since

the organization’s establishment. Naturally, as a nonprofit organization, “we rely heavily on community donation. Whether it’s healthy, nutritious food or monetary funds, donations come from individuals, corporate sponsors, and local farms, among others. It is with the help of volunteers that we are able to efficiently sort through hundreds of pounds of food donations,” explains Paul Gaither, communications director of the Capital Area Food Bank. “The monetary donations received fund programs and other social services, while food sorted by our volunteers is distributed to our nearly 300 partner agencies and mobile food pantries, all of which benefit our neighbors in need,” Gaither adds. Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Capital Food Bank. Wanda Mills has volunteered since 2003 and has logged more than 800 volunteer hours. With years of experience under her belt, Mills guides volunteers as a volunteer leader and represents the Food Bank at community events as a volunteer ambassador. “My husband and I volunteer with the Food Bank because we feel the mission matches our concerns,” Mills explains. “Hunger is a systematic issue and we don’t know how to get to the bottom of it. We feel volunteering and helping in any way is the best way of addressing it for those in need right now.” While high school is full of social engagement opportunities for teens, Lily Harris, a ninth grade student at Austin High School, spends her spare time volunteering. Lily has


Mike Torres, owner of Heart of Gold Family Farm, donates fresh, homegrown food to the Capital Area Food Bank. Torres’ donation will be distributed to nearly 300 Partner Agencies that distribute food to clients.

been volunteering for nonprofits and church organizations since she was 5 years old. Amy Harris, Lily’s mother, said her daughter is motivated to become a philanthropist. Ever since Lily volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, when she was in fourth grade, she has always found herself returning to help more. “I think it is important to get nutritious food to people who don’t have it,” Lily stated. “It’s just an important thing they need.” The Capital Area Food Bank has so many wonderful programs that are helping fellow Texans on a daily basis. The Fresh Food For Families program provides free, monthly distributions of fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods to lowincome families. Serving an average of 4,580 families each month is an amazing feat; the Food Bank does all of this and so much more. The mission of the Healthy Options Program for the Elderly (HOPE) is to reduce hunger among low-income seniors, age 55 or older, by providing them with free, monthly distributions of healthy, shelf-stable foods. Each month, HOPE clients receive a 15 to 20 pound bag of non-perishable groceries as nutritious additions to their existing diets. Items include canned fruits and vegetables, canned protein, cereal and pasta. The HOPE program serves 25 sites in 10 counties and nearly 3,700 seniors each month. Unfortunately, there are many older adults in the community that face similar challenges. One out of every seven seniors in Texas experiences hunger. Seniors are especially vulnerable to the physical and emotional stress of hunger. Inadequate access to nutritious food affects their ability to maintain independent, healthy lifestyles. Payments for rent, utilities and medication often overshadow the need for a nutritious diet for many seniors living on a fixed or limited income. They are often forced to choose between paying for food or prescription medications — a choice no one should have to make. From 2001 to 2011, the number of food insecure seniors more than doubled, according to research by Feeding America. This fact is even

Lily Harris, 13, volunteers at the Capital Area Food Bank in October. The Capital Area Food Bank accepts volunteers as young as 8 years old.

more troubling when data from the 2010 U.S. Census shows that during the past decade Austin’s small, elderly population grew by 27 percent, twice the national rate! Today, more than a third of the older adults served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas go extended periods without food. According to Feeding America, there is a strong connection between poor health and food insecurity for the senior population. Food insecurity is associated with increased risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Without access to healthy food, older adults are at risk for health complications. On the other end of the age spectrum, the Kids Café program at the Capital Area Food Bank serves 26 after-school programs in six counties and served more than 50,000 meals in 2014. The program feeds an average of 475 central Texas children each day, in a nurturing and safe environment. There are educational programs, social servic-

but all are driven by the mission and the idea that no one should go hungry in a prosperous, growing region. Thanks to a thriving business sector and unparalleled economic development, central Texas is among the fastest growing regions in the nation. But amid this growth and prosperity, many of our neighbors are being left behind. The rising cost of housing, utilities, transportation and healthcare leaves many of our neighbors to make impossible choices and painful sacrifices. Twothirds of the people that are served by the Capital Area Food Bank say they had to choose between buying food and paying for housing in the past year. Eighty percent say they had to choose between food and medicine. Hunger affects people from all walks of life. Working families, retired seniors on fixed incomes, grandparents with custody of grandchildren, the chronically ill and the disabled all turn to the Food Bank for help in emergencies or as part of their regular meal planning. As the Capi-

“AS A LEADER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, OUR MISSION IS TO NOURISH HUNGRY PEOPLE AND LEAD THE COMMUNITY IN ENDING HUNGER” es outreach and other initiatives that are available to those that qualify. It is obvious that the Capital Area Food Bank is an integral component in helping those that simply cannot afford the necessary food for themselves, their families or their children. Some of these people are probably your neighbors or your friend’s neighbors. The 90 or more Food Bank staff members and the thousands of volunteers are truly dedicated to fighting hunger in central Texas. Everyone brings their own motivation to the task at hand,

tal Area Food Bank continues to work together with the community and partners to ensure all these people get the nutritious food they need, we must help educate the community and dispel myths about hunger around us. For more information call 512.282.2111 or visit www.austinfoodbank.org. The Capital Area Food Bank is located at 8201 S. Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas 78745. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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TEXAS BUSINESS

B-CYCLE RIDES ITS WAY THROUGH TEXAS Bike sharing boosts community involvement while spurring healthy living By: AUGUST SULLIVAN

IMAGINE A WORLD where cars are used less. Where less of your paycheck goes to gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance. That would yield much cleaner air due to less harmful greenhouse gases being emitted. Sounds great, but how would you get where you need to go? Sure you could walk, but what if you were in a hurry and needed to get somewhere fast? A bicycle is the perfect solution. You might be thinking “I can’t ride a bike, I don’t have one nor the money to buy one.” That’s where our nonprofit comes in — we maintain a bike share program for our entire community. Riding a bike, versus a car, saves energy and provides an easy way to perform your duty of leaving a positive footprint in your community. In addition, it’s fast and easy to use. San Antonio B-Cycle, a nonprofit community bike share program, allows you to check out a bike at any B-Cycle station, ride to your destination and leave it at any other station, then repeat as needed! With over 450 bikes, San Antonio is the second largest B-Cycle program in the nation and the largest in the state of Texas. The local community program boasts 55 stations, including locations at Pearl 44

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

Brewery, Alamo Plaza and the convention center. Most recently, BCycle has expanded to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s main campus on 1604 and Interstate 10 where students can use the bikes to get around their 600 acre campus. Their discounted membership will also include access to all downtown bikes. With B-Cycle, San Antonio locals have the opportunity to become more active, physically and as members of the community. According to the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, in 2012, 65 percent of adults and 30 percent of high school students in Bexar County were overweight or obese. It’s important that we do better. Bike share programs, like ours, help encourage locals to become more active in a way that doesn’t seem like exercise. Before there were video games and a computer in every household kids went outside and ran around for hours to have fun. Having bikes around the city helps bring back that feeling of wanting to be outside and moving around for recreation. An added bonus is that members can track their own personal ride statistics. They’ll know how many miles they’ve ridden, how many calories they’ve burned and even


their carbon offset. Since our program’s inception, our members have traveled over 800,000 miles and burned 35,000,000 calories! In addition to getting people to be more active, our bike share program encourages people to get back downtown for reasons other than work and special events. It’s much easier to park your car in one place and bike to different downtown locations — the museum, the mall, a restaurant — than to have to find and maybe even pay for parking at multiple locations. Taking the parking hassle out of visiting local businesses and shops makes it easier, and therefore more desirable, to spend more time relaxing out in the city instead of at home on the sofa. In the long run, bike share programs will inspire a stronger and more widespread sense of community among locals. It’s hard to find a downside to a city-wide bike share program like B-Cycle. Few other programs are as effective at simultaneously tackling health issues and a desire for more community involvement. Why does San Antonio need B-Cycle? There are many reasons — health purposes, environmental concerns, less road congestion and parking problems, among many others. Coupled with this, San Antonio needs this program because it’s fun. It’s okay to admit that we want something because it brings

“SINCE OUR PROGRAM’S INCEPTION, OUR MEMBERS HAVE TRAVELED OVER 800,000 MILES AND BURNED 35,000,000 CALORIES!” a smile to our faces. Think about it, when’s the last time you rode a bike? It’s probably been too long. Next time you’re thinking of a fun outing to do with the family or friends go on a B-Cycle bike ride! Join the movement. There’s no reason why fun and recreation shouldn’t include community involvement, exercise and an effort to

save the environment all in one. B-Cycle makes that possible for San Antonio locals.

For more information call 210.281.0101 or visit www.sanantonio.bcycle.com.


TEXAS BUSINESS

CHILDREN COME FIRST The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center fights abuse By: JODY JOSEPH MARMEL

PRIOR TO the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, serving the Dallas County area since 1991, when emergency calls were made involving a child as a potential victim of crime, children were taken to a police station, child protective services (CPS) office and to the district attorney’s office. These children were subjected to numerous interviews by professionals who might not have had experience interviewing children. This led to failed court courses, and the entire system was traumatizing for children and their families. “Our co-founders knew we could do better than that,” says Ellen Magnis, Chief of External Affairs at Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. “We owe the timing of our opening to retired-lieutenant Bill Walsh and a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office who learned about the Children Advocacy Center model from the first advocacy center in Huntsville, Alabama. Because of the generosity of a few prominent Dallas women, such as Ruth Altshuler and Caren Prothro, the vision became a reality,” Magnis says. The mission of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and provide national leadership on child abuse issues. The average client is a nine- to 10-year-old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows and trusts. “In addition to child sexual abuse cases, we see children who have been severely, physically abused, to the point where medical care is needed. There are also children that have suffered from severe ne46

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

glect, children who have been abducted and returned, and children who have witnessed a homicide,” explains Magnis. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center has signed interagency agreements with more than 25 law enforcement agencies in Dallas County, including the district attorney’s office, Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Medical School. The staff at the CAC coordinate the investigation and prosecution of the most severe cases of child

the potential to end up in a criminal investigation and prosecution.” All staff members abide by the core value that the children come first in all they do. They operate as a seamless team and act with a servant’s heart. “We work hard to keep a warm, positive, healing environment in place, since those we serve need to see adults as safe, able and positive role models. Despite what we do every day, our environment is not a sad one. We work diligently to keep

“LAST YEAR, THE DALLAS CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER HELPED MORE THAN 2,800 CHILDREN, AND THEY EXPECT TO SEE MORE THAN 3,000 CHILDREN THIS YEAR.” abuses in Dallas County. Magnis details: “We interview—in a non-leading, legally defendable way—suspected child abuse victims, provide therapy services to help children heal, and educate our community about how to recognize and report abuse and keep children safe. Children are referred here or brought to us by law enforcement or CPS, and we receive those cases that have

morale high and reinforce that each one of us can help these children by lifting their burdens. We try to help children understand that the events in their life that happen are events, not who they are. What happens to children is a chapter in their book of life, not the whole story,” Magnis says in earnest. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center has a staff of 60, but they also co-locate


with five units of CPS, an assistant district attorney and the Dallas police department’s child abuse unit. There are more than 100 volunteers that work year-round with the Center on events, watch the children while they await services, and provide help for a variety of administrative tasks to support the team. Last year, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center helped more than 2,800 children, and they expect to see more than 3,000 children this year. “Our numbers continue to grow each year, not necessarily because prevalence is increasing but because the public is becoming more educated about abuse and making reports when they suspect abuse,” says Magnis. Having an educated public is crucial, and by helping spread the awareness, the children really do come first, and rightly so. There is nothing more precious than our children, and we all need to combine forces to help in whatever ways we can. In January 2013, the Dallas Children’s Ad-

vocacy Center raised $11.5 million, of private funds, to build a new state-of-the-art facility. “We can see more children, provide these services in a more compassionate way, and in a way that brings more professionals together. We are now able to host trainings yearround in our training facility,” Magnis beams. In August of 2014, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center hosted the Crimes Against Children Conference, the largest training in the world for professionals who fight crimes against children. More than 3,500 attendees participated. “This is a time when we demonstrate our national leadership, and draw national partners and supporters,” says Magnis proudly. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center wants to continue to grow the number of children they serve. “We have more work to do in getting children into care who have witnessed intimate partner violence and those who are living in drug endangered homes. We need to see more children and help them onto

the path of healing.” Magnis is confident that they’ll further their reach and help more children. “We want to educate more professionals who work with children about how to recognize and report abuse, teach more parents on how to protect their children, and make sure that more children know who to go to for help. We have developed curriculum that we are now selling nationwide to help drive more empowerment in these areas.” And as more people become empowered, the safer our children will be in the Lone Star State and beyond. For more information call 214.818.2600, visit www.dcac.org, www.cacconference.org and www. trainingcenter.net. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is located at 5351 Samuell Blvd. in Dallas, TX 75228.

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PROFILE

THE FAMILY ON THE HILL

Independence Hill Retirement Community continues three decades of caring By: NICO AL-AMRIKI 48

NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015

A CONNECTED COMMUNITY and a sense of family these are some of the hallmarks that make Independence Hill Retirement Community as incredible as it is. While many retirement communities serve food and organize activities, Independence Hill sets the standard with their exceptional spirit, close knit community and superior service to the residents. For nearly three decades, Independence Hill has been guided by a mission focused on providing the very best to their residents. They’ve succeeded in achieving this goal, creating a setting reminiscent of neighborhood days of old. For roughly 14 years, Executive Director Michelle Houriet has led the charge to kindle and grow family bonds between the Independence Hill team and residents with great success. Throughout her tenure, Michelle has strived to create a passionately purposeful experience for those who call Independence Hill “Home” and she greatly values the trust they afford to her and her team. Stability is key to fostering a community and instilling a truly “at home” feeling. With Independence Hill’s impressive employee retention, residents are able to become easily acquainted with staff members, and eventually both treat one another like family. Indeed, six staff members in the dining room alone have been with the community for over 15 to 20 years. This allows residents’ families to find comfort in having a staff of 160 working together to create a home for their loved one. “We strive to create an atmosphere that ensures our residents have a great day every day!” says Michelle.


PHOTOS THIS PAGE BY JOSHUA NOLDEN

The sense of community experienced at Independence Hill is not achieved with good intentions alone. It takes a team that understands the value of community. A team that is committed to maintaining and improving Independence Hill’s unmatched familial feeling. Michelle explains that when looking for new staff members, they will wait for the right person to come along rather than fill the spot with the wrong person. With building our team, we actually do get to “choose our family” and we take it very seriously. She tells new hires from the beginning, “This industry isn’t for everybody. It requires true care, commitment, hard work and the willingness to put our residents first, always.. If it isn’t for you, that’s okay. However, I encourage you to go and find your passion! Independence Hill is only for those employees who whole-heartedly want to be here.” Roughly a third of Independence Hill’s employees have been with them for over a decade, proving Michelle’s earnest belief that this is truly a labor of love with a sense of family at the core. Creating a connection with Independence Hill residents drives Michelle to foster an authentic environment of quality relationships. She stresses to her team the fundamental importance of seeing and understanding the beauty in each relationship. This dedication to creating a community by building strong bonds “allows us to get to know each of our residents for who they are,” Michelle says. It is incredible to see the Independence Hill team truly know every resident and greet them by name. Michelle emphasizes the importance of this, “We are in their home, of course we know their name!” In addition to this, she and her team members make it a point to know the residents’ interests, their families, and most importantly, who they truly are and how they see themselves. As Michelle says, “Everyone has a story, and we care enough to want to know it.” That’s the beauty of connecting with every person they encounter. Michelle understands that moving can be daunting, though what shows Michelle that the Independence Hill team “gets it” is when amidst the hustle and bustle of moving, new residents who are in the middle of big change, take the time to compliment the team. “They’re so thankful for the smallest things we do,” shares Michelle with a smile. Our residents have “done, they’ve seen, they’ve traveled the world, and now they move in with us and are in awe of our team for doing what we love? WOW! We are so honored!” Michelle beams. Independence Hill has set out to improve the quality of life for all residents by finding how to connect them to their passion and purpose. Fulfilling the need for purpose and connection allows residents to feel good about themselves and opens them up to other people and opportunities. “There are new beginnings all the time,

“This is home. It’s not about having a surface relationship. It’s about getting to know each person today, honoring them where they are, for who they are and what they have done.” including hobbies, adventures, new friendships, and even romance,” Michelle says. “It is such a pleasure to observe and be a part of!” The Independence Hill team focuses on providing a jovial atmosphere, in pursuit of their mission: “Caring to Create a Lifestyle that Nurtures the Spirit.” To enhance this sense of community, Independence Hill residents have an array of community and resident inspired activities and events such as

their “Hill Topper’s Chorus,” Big Band Dances, Senior Olympic Games or the “Dinner of the Decade,” which celebrates residents who’ve been with Independence Hill for 10 or more years. One of Michelle’s favorite programs has been a “Grandpal” reading program. Recognizing the opportunity and need for inter-generational relationships, the program arranges for local 2nd-graders to pair up with an Independence APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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Hill resident as their “Grandpal.” Michelle gushes about arriving at the school with the residents and seeing “20 kids out there waiting, practically wagging their little tails like sweet puppies because they’re so excited to see their Grandpal.” The resident reads to the child at the beginning of year, and by the year’s end, the child is reading to their Grandpal, leaving both bursting with pride. As this program has grown, Michelle has seen a notable impact. “These relationships are special, they’re powerful and they’re needed,” Michelle explains. Michelle shares one story of a Grandpal resident who had passed away: “We had lost a resident and his little Grandpal showed up with red, white and blue flowers for his veteran friend. It was powerful.” Michelle said that it both filled and broke her heart. After the services, she went and thanked the mother for bringing her son, during a school day, to celebrate his Grandpal. Michelle was even able to share a picture on her phone with the student’s mom that she had taken of the “Grandpals” reading together. Seeing the impact the Grandpal program has had, Michelle looked for ways to take it further. Two years ago, the Summer Adventures at the Hill kids camp debuted Grandpal summer camp starting at 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and limited to only 20. The kids come to spend their whole day with the residents. With no electronics allowed and only one movie shown per week, the kids are spending around 45 hours per week 50

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“There are new beginnings all the time, including hobbies, adventures, new friendships, and even romance. It is such a pleasure to observe and be a part of!” interacting with their Grandpals, the residents. The residents inspire the kids to learn so much that has been lost over the generations, such as a firm handshake, eye contact, and speaking loud and clearly. They start their day at the Independence Hill Assisted Living dining room over breakfast, shaking hands with all the residents, and then go on to play games, sing songs and go on field trips together. The Grandpal Summer Camp also features a weekly formal luncheon where they learn great table manners and they also pair the kids up with residents who held similar occupations to the children’s aspirations. Kids, their parents and residents all look forward to this “one of a kind” Summer Camp. By the end of the day, the children are exhausted, as they are “present” all day with their senior buddies. Michelle believes that having the kids engaged with the full head-on attention from the residents, skyrockets their self-esteem. “That’s one way the relationships were just so amazing...each child felt so important,” Michelle says with a smile.

It is no wonder Independence Hill has such a great reputation after so many years in the Stone Oak Community. Michelle and the Independence Hill team make it a point to honor their commitments, fulfill all promises made and will always strive to care for, connect with and do more for their residents. It’s not about maintaining the status quo, but rather pushing themselves to excellence for the residents. As Michelle explains, “This is home. It’s not about having a surface relationship. It’s about getting to know each person today, honoring them where they are, for who they are and what they have done.” With family at the forefront of the Independence Hill teams mind, they’ll undoubtedly continue to care with all their heart and will continue satisfying their residents for many years to come. For more information call 210.591.0013 or visit www.independencehill.com. Independence Hill Retirement Community is located at 20450 Huebner Road in San Antonio, TX 78258.


GIVING YOUNG MEN THE ADVANTAGE.

CCHS-SATX.ORG

(210) 225-6794 EXT. 209


STYLE

GIVING BACK IN STYLE By: TORI JOHNSON

HUMBLE HILO HUIPIL AZTECA BAG With the purchase of this bag, you can choose a portion of the proceeds to support your choice of these humanitarian projects: • Nutrition: Feed a malnourished child two meals for two and a half weeks • Microfinance: Provide a portion of a microcredit loan to a woman for the duration of one and a half weeks • Literacy: Provide literacy classes for a woman for two months www.humblehilo.com $89.00

NENA AND CO. BE FREE HAND LOOMED KIMONO This kimono is loomed from the last cotton farm in Guatemala. When you purchase a bag you’re helping create jobs and provide freedom from poverty for the beautiful, hardworking women of the Maya highlands. www.nenaandco.com $188.00

TOMS STUCCO SUEDE BOOTS Perforated Women’s Majorca Peep Toe Booties. For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. www.toms.com $98.00

 WARBY PARKER QUIMBY SUNGLASSES Not only does the company donate a pair of glasses for each one you purchase, but they also train men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at affordable prices. www.warbyparker.com $95.00

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Shop for a cause

In this issue, Nside Texas takes a moment to recognize brands that provide the opportunity to give back in style. From feeding hungry children and building hospitals to providing homes for the homeless, these companies encourage conscious consumerism. These are just a few philanthropic businesses that we encourage you to open your hearts to as a forward-thinking fashionista.

PURPOSEROSA BARONA NECKLACE

FEED KENYA KIKOY SCARF

This stunning scarf not only adds a pop of color to your wardrobe, but it also provides 10 school meals to children in Kenya. www.feedprojects.com $30.00

THE GIVING KEYS KNUCKLE RING

Purposerosa will donate a percentage of all sales of this necklace to Barona, which is committed to nurturing children’s lives by building Botswana’s first-ever children’s hospital by merging art and medicine. www.purposerosa.com $315.00

Readers will love the “pay it forward” effort of this company. Wear this key and embrace its message until you meet someone who needs the message on the key more than you. Once you’ve paid it forward, write them your story about why you gave it away. www.thegivingkeys.com $40.00

KAYU KAPAA CLUTCH

This scarf is handmade in Ethiopia, and the company is committed to long-term solutions to fighting poverty and creating opportunities for vulnerable women. www.livefashionable.com $72.00

NEST FRAGRANCE PASSION CANDLE This candle combines the scents of blooming peony and dewy garden roses with warm sandalwood and a hint of flowering pittosporum, and 10 percent of the purchase price is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. www.bcrfcure.org $28.00

FASHIONABLE MESERET SCARF

This beautiful clutch is made of natural raffia with a rattan frame, and a percentage of each sale is donated towards creating economic opportunities for craftspeople in developing nations. www.kayudesign.com $195.00

Editor’s CRAVE WORTHY List APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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STYLE

STEP INTO SPRING As seasons shift, so should your style By: MARCUS ANDREWS

AS WE TRANSITION into spring, there are countless opportunities to redevelop our business style and wardrobe. While the winter season is often filled with tuxedos, formal attire and conservative ensembles, the spring season is an opportunity to try new colors and brighten up your appearance, while still maintaining a classy image. We all the know the importance of our appearance and our ability to use it as a communication tool, and as a beacon to signal where we are and where we are headed. Like fashion, the stylistic element of classic business dress evolves and changes with each season and application. During the early months of the year, we move away from the heavy cloths and dark patterns of the fall and winter and migrate toward lighter fabrics and patterns with subtle color. With footwear we are able to create pairings with some less formal choices, such as dress loafers and other creative styles. With the right dress loafer you can create a great base for the perfect business wardrobe during the spring months. A perfect example is the Marion tassel loafer from the M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury Collection in walnut brown. The hand colored walnut tone and sleek Italian profile will add a new 54

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twist to both suiting and sport coat/trouser choices. It pairs well with the warmer colors associated with the season — such as lighter greys, rich browns and deep blues — while providing the versatility of both a dressy and causal piece of luxury footwear. Tassels tend to add a little business element to a casual shoe, and this is perfectly executed with this loafer. A trendier option, that has gained much popularity in the last few years, is the monk strap loafer. Widely seen in fashion applications, it also makes a great business approved dress shoe. The options that this style of shoe are seen in are numerous and very creative. It is most often available and seen with either a single or double buckle design. This style of shoe looks great when finished with

either a plain toe, cap toe or even a wingtip design. The Grayson double monk strap loafer from M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury Collection shows a creative balance between suede and hand colored calfskin, and it still remains classy and subtle enough for your business wardrobe. The cap toe adds a professional detail, while the suede upper shows your creativity. As with any choice in footwear, quality and material are the most important factors to making good footwear decisions. Look for leather soles and soft pliable uppers for comfort and durability. Real leather and suede shoes are meant to last a lifetime, so choose classic styles, such as these examples, that fit your personality and taste. Try to stay away from squared and box toe designs, and embrace slimmer Italian and English profiles that are meant to create a neat and polished appearance. As you find success and try new things this year, don’t forget to show your style. For more information call 210.657.0300 or visit www.sartorialluxury.com. M. Andrews Sartorial Luxury is located at 362 W. Sunset Road in San Antonio, TX 78209.


Stylist BIOGRAPHY

TORI

JOHNSON

TORI JOHNSON is the Senior Fashion Editor of Nside Texas Magazine, owner of Tori Johnson Public Relations, former Operations Director of Fashion Week San Antonio and founder of ThesTORIbook. com. She began her career in the consumer and fashion industry at a young age and has worked for a wide variety of national brands. Her campaigns have led her to collaborations with some of the industry’s top editors, buyers, designers, artists, stylists and more. She has developed a love of helping individuals define their own distinctive image with the art of styling high-end fashion with accessible everyday style.

JON-MICHAEL

NARVAEZ

BORN AND RAISED in San Antonio, Jon–Michael “JM” Narvaez was steeped in the hip-hop and break dancing movement of the early 90s, gravitating toward street culture and style at an early age. This influence, along with his training by Fortune 500 fashion retailers, and countless hours studying menswear and the business behind fashion, has led JM to offer tailored, professional styling. For nearly a decade, he’s developed a program dedicated to educating men on the classical style of suiting and furnishing. Currently, Jon-Michael resides in the heart of the Alamo City, for more on his services visit www.styleby jm.com. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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STYLE

DR E SS Roberto Cavalli Deep V Cotton Voile Eyelet Gown, $4645

SHOE S Vicini Flats, $595

JE WE LRY Stephanie Kantis Goddess Hammered Gold Plated Cuff, $445 Stephanie Kantis Bracelet, $695

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Style

& SUBSTANCE PHOTOGRAPHY BY DON HOPKINS

Stylists:

TORI JOHNSON AND JON-MICHAEL NARVAEZ

Models:

JACKET Canali Herringbone, $1495

SH IRT Etro Button Up, $465

PANTS Zanella Dress Pant Sharkskin, Blue/Brown, $395

NEFI MIRAMONTES AND CRYSTAL HOLMES

Location:

COURTESY OF BETTY BOSTON, NIX REALTY

Wardrobe:

NEIMAN MARCUS

SHO E S Magnanni Leather Apron Toe, Cognac, $395 APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

57


B LO U SE Brunelli Cucinelli Feather Trimmed Halter-Neck Top, Vanilla, $1610

PAN T S

J AC K ET

Crepe Pull-On Pants, $925

Armani Collezioni Cotton Blend Sports Coat Camel, $1205

SH O E S

S H I RT

Jimmy Choo, $750

Rag & Bone Short Sleeve Perfect Jersey Tee, White, $80

JE WE LRY

PAN T S

Alexis Bittar Vert d’Eau Tusk Pendant Necklace, $325

Hudson Five Pocket Twill Jean, Chocolate, $165

S H O ES Bally Low Top Sneaker, Brown, $395

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J AC K ET Armani Collezioni Sports Coat, Navy, $1145

S H I RT Brioni Micro Striped Dress Shirt, White, $495

TIE Zegna Daisy Print Tie, Purple, $250

D RESS Etro Floral Zig Zag Tiered Silk Patio Dress, $3145

SH OES Tory Burch Daisy Perforated Wedge Sandal, Natural Blush, $325

JE WELRY Alexis Bittar Mis Havisham Onyx Beaded Necklace 40”, $375

P O C K ET S Q U AR E Edward Armah Medallion Pocket Circle, Pink, $75

PAN T S Hugo Boss Flat Front Dress Pant, Grey, $265 SHOES Prada Saffiano Single-Monk, Black, $730

Stephanie Kantis 24k Gold-Plated Bronze Coronation Necklace 42”, $495 Stephanie Kantis Ring, $545.00

APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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NEFI MIRAMONTES

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Nefi Miramontes began his career with First American Title in Utah in 2005. In 2010, Nefi, his wife and their four children moved to San Antonio, and today, he is the local VP/Manager of First American Title’s Dominion location. The devoted husband and father of four is a fitness enthusiast and enjoys healthy eating regularly. As an avid foodie, he loves the plentiful variety of the great culinary creations San Antonio has to offer. For a decade, Nefi’s refined his craft and created the most personal, professional setting for any real estate transaction. With his extensive experience and immense knowledge of the industry, Nefi successfully bridges the bilingual gap, transforming dreams of home ownership into realty.

J ACKET Mixed Media Varsity Jacket, Navy, $995

SHIRT Vince Slub Jersey V-Neck Tee, White, $80

PANTS Zegna Five Pocket Dress Pant, Navy, $345

S HOES Balenciaga Sneaker, $665

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NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS / APRIL 2015


D R ES S Haute Hippe Maxi Dress, $695

S H O ES Yves Saint Laurent Tribute Patent Platform Sandal, Fog, $895

J EWEL RY Devon Leigh Necklace, $795

CRYSTAL HOLMES

Don’t be fooled by her sparkling eyes and sweet smile, this native San Antonian is more business savvy than she is beautiful. Before fueling her desire for entrepreneurship, Crystal Holmes worked her way up the corporate ladder at USAA for 16 years. “I strongly believe that we are able to design our lives, and if we feel a continuous passion about something, we owe it to ourselves to explore it,” Crystal says. Now the owner of BodyBrite at La Cantera, Crystal Holmes spends her days growing her business, and making San Antonio’s men and women look and feel their best. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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ANGEL TUTU DRESS IN OFF WHITE CRYSTAL BOW TIE TOP IN SEA FOAM

STYLE

Crafted from the softest cotton, with adjustable straps, it is as pretty as it is practical, and teams with everything from a tutu skirt to a pair of shorts.

A classic silhouette inspired by the ballerina outfits of yesteryear. The full, tiered skirt in dusky shades of whites and the soft bodice featuring spaghetti straps and Edwardian-style beadwork makes our Angel Tutu Dress a flattering, feminine choice for every dancer in the making.

Dress To The Nines Steal the show with perfect performance attire

By: CYNTHIA ANN GARZA Photography: MEMORY MAGIC PHOTOGRAPHY

BUTTERFLY KISSES TUTU SKIRT IN BLACK This adorable tutu skirt whispers of dancing and adventure. Plumes of gathered tulle fall in waves from the soft underskirt, creating a waterfall effect. The gathered silk waistband is elasticated for a comfortable fit and sits the black coloured tutu skirt perfectly on the waist. The Whisper Tutu Skirt is ideal for ballet or special occasions.

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DANCING QUEEN TUTU DRESS IN LATTE This Dancing Queen Tutu Dress in Latte showcases graphic, black, sequined accents across the soft bodice, perfectly balanced with a tiered waterfall skirt in the lightest, fluffiest tulle. Part dance leotard, part swishy ballroom costume, this magical creation will bring out the performer in all who don it.

These looks and more can be found at Moda Bebe, located at 22211 IH-10 West, Suite 1109, San Antonio, Texas, 78256. For shoppers outside of San Antonio call 210-503-5065 or visit www.modabebesa.com. Memory Magic Photography is located at 18730 Stone Oak Parkway, Ste. 202, San Antonio, TX 78258. For more information, visit www.memorymagicphotography.com or call 210-402-1277.


22211 IH 10 West, Ste. 1109 San Antonio, TX 78256 210.503.5065 www.modabebesa.com


PROFILE

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You Can Have It All I N M I N I AT U R E

By: MIKELA RAE BOWERS | Photography: JOSHUA NOLDEN

N

ORMA PALMER has led a life rich in ex-

perience and love. Spending 38 years with the love of her life, raising seven children and experiencing all corners of the U.S., the native Scot has lived a full 81 years. Now a resident of Independence Hill Retirement Resort, Norma has the space and time to reflect on all life has offered her, the beauty she created and what she will accomplish next. At five years old, the Scottish native immigrated to the U.S. with her family, escaping the specter of World War II. Naturally, Norma and her family initially arrived in New York, but they would later relocate to Michigan. The family’s move to the U.S. proved beneficial, for it was here that Norma would become enamored with miniature figurines and later start her family. Norma recalls being 12 years old when her love of miniatures was spurred. She was at a festival with her father when an ornate, glass horse figurine entranced her eyes. Norma wanted nothing else at the fair — no food, games or toys, just the glass horse. Her father ended up giving it to her, and her enchantment

with everything tiny began. “I can still shut my eyes and see that pretty blue horse,” Norma reminisces. Fast-forward about seven decades later, Norma’s love of miniatures persists, and it has blossomed into an aweinspiring art. Upon entering Independence Hill’s reception area, one of Norma’s “Room Boxes” — proudly displayed for the community to enjoy — caught my eye. Her work set the tone for the woman I was to meet. I saw meticulous attention to detail, excellent craftsmanship, obvious care in creation and creativity in spades. The two Maltese pups perfectly placed in the display gave me a glimpse into her heart. I quickly understood the importance of Norma’s “Room Boxes,” as she began speaking of them immediately after our introduction. “The room on display is a conservatory,” Norma explains with delight. Learnt from her Scottish heritage, Norma explained that conservatories served as a room for plants to be brought in during the long winter months. As we moved from the “Conservatory” to a favorite amongst her creations, an elated Norma lit up with excitement as she detailed the APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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intricacy of her miniature “Texas Room,” replete with mini-shotguns and an outdoor BBQ pit. Norma proudly explained that the Independence Hill staff insisted she share her gift with the community, and she awaits the opportunity to bring out her fabulous Library. Much like her art, Norma also prefers her canine companions in miniature. Accompanied by Ferguson — a Yorkie named by Norma’s children after her Scottish maiden name — Norma enjoys her cottage days with her tiny companion at Independence Hill. Prior to Ferguson, Norma had Maltese pups, which are always subtlety found in her “Room Boxes” in miniature. While she was preparing to move, Norma sold many of her boxes to friends. Although, several of the Maltese miniatures were later sent back to her from the boxes. “Which I thought was just really sweet,” Norma says with a wide smile. Aside from her art and canine comrades, another great love of Norma’s life is her expansive family and late husband, Wayne. “We did absolutely everything together,” Norma recalls. From deep sea fishing to raising children, they did it all as one for 38 years. Wayne would 66

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“I can still shut my eyes and see that pretty blue horse.” even come help Norma with her duties as a nurse’s aid after his work shift. “He would do the laundry for me, since that was one of my duties,” Norma recounts. Unfortunately, it was after Wayne’s death that Norma laid down her creation of miniatures. Wayne did the electrical lighting for her boxes, and not having him by her side, Norma lost the drive to continue the craft. “I had a good one,” Norma sweetly shares. “He was the love of my life.” With seven children, 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and another great-grandchild on the way, Norma’s lineage continues to light up her life. One of the most incredible occurrences based on Norma’s generosity and compassion involves her youngest daughter,

who was adopted. When the time came, Norma’s youngest daughter chose to adopt children as well. Adopting two daughters individually, it was discovered that the two girls were actually biological sisters who had been separated as they progressed through the system. As Norma’s lineage of love continues, it unites on levels no one could have imagined. Now, Norma is creating new beauty in her life at Independence Hill as she comes upon her first anniversary of being a part of the community. Finding her way to serve, Norma has spent the past several months working at the store on Fridays. “I like people,” Norma shares matterof-factly. In service to others through the store, Norma loves the opportunity to help out where


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she can, including an emergency pizza run for her friend-in-need. Creating a home for seven children, showing her children the beauty of a 38 year love affair, and setting a foundation for those in her care to flourish, Norma has spent her life in service to others. As we close our time together, Norma lights up at what lays ahead. With a new great-grand baby on the way, and a new experience with the Independence Hill Toppers Chorus as an alto, Norma is excited for what’s to come. “I love to sing. I sing in the shower, I sing to my dog. I love music. Any kind,” beams Norma. “You really don’t know what’s ahead,” muses Norma, and the fun part of life is making the unknown beautiful. It is said beauty comes from selfless love and service. If so, Norma Palmer has accomplished and excelled at this in her lifetime, spreading beauty one miniature Maltese at a time.

For more information about Independence Hill Retirement Community or Independence Village’s neighborhood of homes visit www.independencehill.com or call 210.782.9892. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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PIECING PEACE TOGETHER Karen Blessen reflects Dallas’ true nature through thought provoking art By: HEATHER DANIELS

THE WORLD OF ART, in all its shapes and forms, takes us away from our everyday lives and leaves a powerful impact that we carry with us after the experience. It is what we do with those emotions that make a difference. Karen Blessen has an endless portfolio of amazing artwork and her talents have not gone unnoticed. In 1989, her illustrative contributions to a Dallas Morning News team’s investigative report about an airplane crash resulted in Blessen being named the first graphic artist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Though this is only the beginning of Blessen’s story and the wonders she has created throughout Texas. In 1994, Blessen was given the honor by New York City’s Times Square Business Improvement District to create a signature look for the new Times Square. Her graphics on banners, buses, posters, billboards, print and the web, acclaimed every Times Square Business Improvement District event into the millennium. Compelled by her passion, Blessen co-founded the nonprofit or68

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ganization Today Marks the Beginning. Using art to generate awareness of social issues, the impact of the nonprofit mushroomed into what came to be known as “MasterPeace: Young Artists Making a Kinder World.” In 2008, Blessen became the project manager of “MasterPeace.” In 14 project lessons, “MasterPeace” uses visual and performing art to give students tools for non-violence. In addition to these lessons, students also learn about “Great Peacemakers” and human rights heroes. This innovative and phenomenal program has been presented to thousands of students in 2nd through 12th grade in Dallas schools. In 2012, “MasterPeace” was chosen by Participant Media as a grand prize winner in their International Marigold Ideas for Good Competition. “The “MasterPeace” program was born from my experience of chronicling the impact of a senseless murder that occurred in my front yard in August of 2000. From this experience, I was left with a passion to find a way to show children that retaliative or senseless


“NOVEMBER 22, 1963 WAS A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE CITY OF DALLAS. THE “DALLAS LOVE PROJECT” AIMED TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE OF DALLAS AND CREATED A REDEFINING MOMENT ... THIS WAS A TRUE REFLECTION OF THE DIVERSITY, CHARACTER AND COURAGE OF A REMARKABLE CITY” violent behaviors are a colossal waste and loss for all involved, and for the community at large,” explains Blessen. “There are alternative ways of thinking and acting that are available to be learned and “MasterPeace” was born.” “MasterPeace” is a hands-on, art based curriculum used to teach peace and conflict resolution. The program has successfully used art to teach social and emotional strategies for peace to over 7,000 students across 16 schools in the Dallas area. “MasterPeace” has trained teachers in 11 schools to teach “MasterPeace” to their students. Blessen has certainly brought about a positive change in the way students are being taught the value and importance of a life with peace. She is truly an inspiration to those taught via her programs and those of us who wish we had those programs in our schools as well. Teaching students that peace is the answer is a huge step in the right direction. Blessen is also known for the “Dallas Love Project.” A tribute to President John F. Kennedy, it expressed unconditional love in the form of more than 10,000 pieces of art inspired by quotes from great peacemakers, poets, artists and musicians. Installed on September 21st, 2013 — the International Day of Peace — the project was displayed through November 22nd, 2013 — the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. The art was installed at more than 140 venues throughout Dallas and was displayed along the JFK motorcade route. “November 22, 1963 was a defining moment for the city of Dallas. The “Dallas Love Project” aimed to change the narrative of Dallas and created a redefining moment. 10,000 pieces of “Dallas Love Project” art were created by the people of Dallas. This was a true reflection of the diversity, character and courage of a remarkable city,” says Blessen, explaining that, “The “Dallas Love Project” hit the streets with a message of love to honor JFK’s legacy, and it gave tens of thousands of children and adults the opportunity to be part of a historic, collective project and to promote what is best in all of us — love for one another.” This project was a huge, historic undertaking by so many people, in so many ways. “We knew from the beginning we needed to preserve it in print. We’re thrilled to have published a beautiful book that not only immerses readers in art, but also explains the process for anyone who

would like to create their own “Love Project,” ” explained Blessen enthusiastically. Continuing on with her projects, Blessen started “29 Pieces-Creative Connections Workshops for Adults.” This program is a series of workshops that use art and meditation. The focus of the workshops centers on inspirational thinking and the growth of peace and tolerance. Blessen has been working on “29 Pieces: Visions of the Mystics Made Manifest” since 2006. In March of 2010, 29 Pieces became a nonprofit organization, and in May of 2011, 29 Pieces merged with Today Marks the Beginning, with a combined mission to create monumental art and change. “29 Pieces exists to empower children and adults by directly connecting them with their creative center — changing the way they learn, the way they problem solve and the way they interact with the world around them.” To this day, Blessen’s messages are being shared throughout Dallas with the message of love and peace being the only answer.

For more information visit www.29Pieces.org. APRIL 2015 / NSIDE TEXAS BUSINESS

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DENTAL HOPE is a San Antonio nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing affordable access to quality dental care for adults in Bexar County. Currently, Dental Hope sponsors a free dentistry day once per year with our trusted providers at 7 to 7 Dental. Together, they treat any adult patient that comes in on that day at no charge. In 2014, Dental Hope successfully helped over 330 patients on our first “Dental Hope Day.� In 2015, we were able to help another 200 patients smile a little brighter. If you are in need of dental treatment, and can not afford it, you may submit a dental scholarship request asking Dental Hope to cover your dental expenses for you.


ESTABLISHED IN 2003, Mere Mist International seeks to restore the lives of those affected by human trafficking. Nside Texas attended “Art. Restore. Educate: An Evening Of Art” benefiting Mere Mist International. MMI brings awareness and much needed funding to the survivors of sex trafficking. KENS5 Bill Taylor and Karen Grace hosted a fun night of silent and live auctions, live entertainment and cuisine by Fralo’s. Founder Sara Beth Stephenson and Fundraising Coordinator Amanda Pace helped raise over $14,000 for survivors.

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WILD HOGS are notorious for terrorizing and defiling farmlands in Texas. Ranchers and farmers frequently find themselves loathing the feral “four-legged fire ants.” In 2013, there were an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs spread across 240 of Texas’ 254 counties. They’re economic nuisances because they destroy farmers’ crops and lands, and feral hogs’ rooting behavior wreaks havoc on Texas’ environment, particularly along waterways in the south and west where waterways are limited. Seeing this problem in their community, Javier Mendoza’s Silent Assassins have taken it upon themselves to quell the hog problem. Using bows and traps, the Silent Assassins respond to ranchers’ and farmers’ needs and hunt hogs destroying their land. Then Mendoza, his son and nephew donate the game meat to those with food insecurity, or they sell it and use the money as a private, local emergency fund to help those in the community should an unfortunate situation arise. For more information call 361.877.6813 or email Javier at jlmendoza2396@yahoo.com.

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Dallas/Houston Nside Texas Business April 2015